Sunday, June 26, 2011

One-Room Summer School

Remember the one-room schoolhouse from the “good old days”? I do! Well, the good old days are back! For the first time in history, the Frankie Lemmon School is running a summer camp. It’s sort of a one-room summer school.

This camp was made possible through a generous grant from Operation L.A.M.B., a program of the Knights of Columbus in North Carolina to assist people that are intellectually challenged. The LAMB Foundation gets its name from an acronym from the biblical quotation: "Whatsoever you do to the Least Among My Brethren, that you do also to me." (Matthew 25:40).

The primary means of support for Operation L.A.M.B. is the Tootsie Roll Drive. Each year, the Knights of Columbus, their families and friends stand long hours outside shopping centers. They offer free Tootsie Rolls to all passers by and ask for donations to assist those with developmental disabilities. Their smiling faces and bright yellow aprons have become familiar sights throughout the state. So eat those Tootsie Rolls and give generously!

Remember the old-time blackboard (more recently called a chalkboard)? Well, today in class we used something called a “Promethian ActivBoard Mount System.” Say what? Let me ‘splain (or at least try to)…The Promethian is an interactive whiteboard that “throws” pictures on the wall with an overhead projector. (You say, “So what? Grandma used to make us watch her slide shows.”) Well, Grandma never saw anything like this! The Promethian computer projects a picture or a question on the wall. You “write” your answer on the wall with an interactive ActivPen. You or the teacher presses a button and what you wrote goes back into the computer. Many things kids can do nowadays on an iPad or a smartphone they can now do on the wall. Wow! Who knew?!

What’s next? Interactive slate boards?
(Psssst…they’re already here! They’re called Activ Slates!)

But some things never change — like summer fun!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Wee Care

I want to thank Miss Forbis, Miss White and my wee friends for the incredible “Four Year Olds” photo album they gave me at the Open House June 10th. It was one of the most wonderful things I’ve ever received and my time with them has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

I’ve volunteered at the Frankie Lemmon School on Tuesday mornings for two years now. Why? Because I love my friends and I really care about them. As Mister Pat, I’m sort of like the big brother on the block who comes around to see how my friends are doing and to just sit down and play with them. And I know firsthand that the teachers and staff here care about each and every student. They are the “good” people that you hear about but rarely see. They try very hard to help their students succeed and to make them feel like this is a great place to be. In my own class, I have absolute faith in Miss Lori Forbis and Miss Jeannine White for their professional expertise and their love for students.

By coincidence, Miss Paula (Paula Scicluna) also comes on Tuesday. She brings her Yamaha keyboard and her big bag of musical instruments. Why? Because she has a passion for helping developmentally challenged people of ALL ages through the universal language of music therapy—so much so that in 2006 she opened the Durham-based clinic known as Rhythm & Rehab ( and serves as executive director.

There are many others who help, too many to name without leaving out someone. They work with parents who, in many cases, have struggled with their child's problems with little or no success. But in this place, they’ve discovered that love and hope finally has a name—Frankie Lemmon.

The point is that we care and so long as we keep on caring the world will be that less cold, alone and self-serving.

God bless us all.

Maestro, hit it!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Hello Goodbye

You say goodbye and I say hello
Hello, hello
I don't know why you say goodbye
I say hello
Hello, hello
I don't know why you say goodbye
I say hello
— (from the Beatles’s song, Hello Goodbye)

Today, all three classes of us went upstairs to rehearse our goodbyes because next week is when all the parents come to see our “graduation.” But today was a big deal as well as everyone who was anyone in the school came to see us. Some of us will be moving up a year. Others will transition into public or private kindergarten. (Mr. Pat is being held back!)

Even though we will make new friends, we will surely miss our old ones. So today was a mixture of happy hellos and sad goodbyes.

But wait…Frankie Lemmon has a summer program! It begins June 20 and ends August 12—just right for you high school or college students.

So what’s your thing? C’mon, learn something about yourself. Have fun! Be involved in something you really care about! Explore career possibilities. Get off the couch. Learn some new skills…and add them to your resume! Fulfill graduation requirements. Make someone else’s day. Feel good about yourself!


“If you have a special place in your heart for children with special needs, or want to learn more about our school, why not become a volunteer? We have many volunteers from local universities, businesses and churches who are an integral part of our school. Volunteers participate in activities such as giving children one-on-one support during activities, reading to children, assisting teachers, participating in holiday activities and much more. Please contact the Frankie Lemmon School office at
or call 821-7436 for more information on our current needs.”      — (

Miss Paula led us in singing our own Hello Goodbye song. It even incorporates a little Calypso music with Miss Paula’s little steel drum.