We are the Champions, Part 2

We are the Champions Part 2

Miah wearing alligator hat he caught at 2014 Mardi Gras parade

If you are new to this blog about Life in the Louisiana Wetlands, it’s time you know that once in a while I deviate from the main theme and purpose to bring you what I think might be an inspiring story from a different sector of life.  This time, it is about our son with Down’s Syndrome.

About this time last year, he graduated from high school and informed me that he wanted a cooking class.  When I wrote last year’s post about his high school graduation, the plans for his cooking class were in their baby steps.  To bring you up to speed, we were met with almost no resistance from the school system about allowing him to enroll in Terrebonne Career and Technical High School for three hours each morning.

The most negative thing we were told was that the paperwork might be a bit tricky because he had already graduated.  Well, these children can attend public high school until they are 22 years old, and at the time he was 20, with two years of eligibility left. The Food Service program in which he was interested is a two-year program, so this would be perfect for him. Determined to not let a technicality like paperwork deter us, we re-enrolled him in high school and received all the necessary permissions to further his education. As far as we know, he is the first student with Down’s Syndrome to attend career high school in this parish.

Off to Career School

By mid-summer, everything was set, and Miah started in the Food Service program in August of last year.  His amazing instructor, Mrs. Donna, has an older brother with special needs and is the key to his success in her class. She and the para-professional, Mrs. Catina, are both angels on earth to us.

We are the Champions Part 2

Preparing pepperoni pizza – his favorite!

Class instruction began with cleanliness and safety in the kitchen and moved on to basic tools of the kitchen, what they are for and how to use them in basic recipes. Miah has learned so much, and we can’t thank both Mrs. Donna and Mrs. Catina enough for their enduring patience with a young man who can’t always express himself clearly and who honestly hates written tests. They have really gone above and beyond, because it has not escaped us that he requires an extra dash of time and pinch of patience in the cooking lab, too. So, for our entire family, let me say a big public THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts right here and right now!

Making the Grade

Miah proudly brought home a grade sheet stating that he made the A/B Honor Roll this last grading period, and we are just as proud of him.  Not only that, we are so pleased that the Special Ed Department of Terrebonne Parish Schools, the principal at the Technical and Career School, and his teachers at both schools have been so willing to work with him and give him this opportunity.

We are the Champions Part 2

During the spring break, I took Miah out for a very special breakfast before going to get him fitted for his tuxedo for yet another prom.  The restaurant, Coley’s Cafe`, sits in an old house in Houma that has been refurbished and redesigned. As we sat there waiting for our meal, he was looking around at the place, and I could tell his wheels were spinning.  I asked him if he liked the place, and of course he said yes. I said that if he finishes his Food Service program, maybe one day he could work in a nice place like this.

He sat thoughtful for a moment, cracked a big smile, and put his hands up in a gesture like a big marquee and said, “Jeremiah’s Place”.  Who knows?  Maybe he is prophetic or just a big dreamer, but it made my heart smile that this challenged young person was thinking ahead. Maybe one day, he will have a little cafe` of his own.  A mother can dream along with her son, right?

We are the Champions Part 2

Well, if his last report card and the above certificate are any indication of what he can accomplish, I just really believe with a little help from family and friends, he will achieve his goal of working at, and possibly owning, his own cafe` one day.  Don’t you?

Winning an Award

Let’s back up a minute.  Are you wondering why he was going to prom again?  I mean, he went when he was a senior last year.  Well, this is why . . . .

We are the Champions Part 2

Miah on stage with other award recipients

The graduating class of 2014 elected him Most Unique Boy, and he was very excited when they called his name during the awards ceremony at prom that night. Their doing so says something about the caliber of those students, would you agree? He insisted on wearing his banner to school the following Monday.  Sure, why not?

We are the Champions Part 2

This journey of rearing such an outstanding human being continues to reward us daily with blessings exhibited by his view of life.  I’m not sure what life has in store for him after he completes his second year of Food Service in 2014-2015.  But whatever it is, we know he will tackle it head on and touch everyone in his path along the way.

With great pride and joy,

BW

 

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Comments

We are the Champions, Part 2 — 30 Comments

  1. Love hearing what’s new in Miah’s world). One day I’m gonna meet that kid….maybe it will be when I’m in Bayou Country and I stop to eat at Jeremiah’s Place)).

    • That sounds good to me, Vicki! So great to know that you took time to hop over here from your ever-favorite FB to read and comment!! Can’t wait to see you again!!!

  2. Jeremiah’s Place – I like that : )

    I could see him having his own little cafe doing daily lunch service for the local working folks!

  3. great read… great life story. I could actually hear your voice in my head as I read this. you and Miah are remarkable. thanks for sharing.

  4. Way to go, Miah! You have every right to be one proud Mama. He’s going to do great. (I know a little green house close by that would be a great “Jeremiah’s Place”)! 😉

      • I’d already figured you’d be in line as “head line cook”. I wish him the best and hope that one day he might have his own restaurant. Here’s an idea…You could always turn Camp Dularge into a Bread and Breakfast and hire him as a chef for the guest.

  5. Our best to our mate Miah! We are fortunate to know such an entusiastic, hard working and polite Gentleman (who looks pretty slick in a Tuxedo) – and are always pleased to hear o’ his success at something he loves. I’m sure he’ll be a Sous-Chef in no time and working his way up to “Jeremiah’s Place”…he certainly has all the connections to be well supplied with fresh seafood & game!
    The Alligator hat is a grand accessory too!

  6. Oh, Wendy…my heart (and my eyes!) are so full right now! And Bobby says Miah has on the wrong hat because “Jeremiah was a bullfrog!”

  7. What a great article, it makes you want to believe in the school system again. You only read about the craziness and politics, and then you see somewhere that it really matters and you expect the worst, somehow someone steps up and just makes it work. Gives the warm fuzzy feelings.

    When you said a little restaurant for lunches , I thought of a breakfast place before you said it. Some where down town near the court house. Breakfast and plate lunches. All those city/parish personnel are always looking for a good comfortable place to get normal food.

    I don’t know who’s more impressive, the school for that extra mile, Miah for being so unique, or a family because it takes a special family to make a special child and Miah certainly is one.

    Excellent story I am so glad its just the opening chapter.

    And congrats to the new Chef.

    • While it’s true I had to advocate pretty sternly for him, this go ’round was not as difficult. It was as though someone bigger than all of us had already begun to pave the way. If I told the entire chain of events, you might enjoy knowing it was full of (pre-ordained) serendipitous happenings which opened every door along the way. Honestly? Compared to other challenges, this one was amazingly easy! I guess that’s how you know it’s right. At least that’s what Daddy used to say, “When something is right, you just know in your heart that it is.” Sage words from a wise man. Glad you enjoyed it, Goldie!

  8. Kudos to Miah for dreaming big, his family for always believing he could do whatever he set his mind to, and the love of a mother who unquestionably has been his biggest cheerleader. I too could “hear” the pride in your voice as I read this. Can’t imagine how big you’ll be beaming when he opens Jeremiah’s Place!

    • You give me way too much credit, Steph, because he is the one who has to get up early every day and get on that bus whether he feels like it or not. I don’t there’s been one day this entire school year that he has not wanted to go to school, which is a FIRST I just realized! It’s as though his education has a more meaningful purpose to him now. I just hope I can help him reach his dream!

  9. I have nearly reached my tolerance for news stories, feature articles and internet postings about the weird, the unhappy and the stone-cold nasty. This just made me so happy — not only because of Miah’s success, but because the school’s role, and the fact that he has a family to depend on. The truth is, if you’ve managed to find a way around the educational bureacracy to get this far, you probably have learned some of the necessary skills for getting around other sorts of bureaucracies!

    He’s so handsome in that tux, but his smile is the best of all. You’d better be prepared. He may show up with a business plan in hand, shortly!

    We need to hear more stories like this. It’s your double gift that you can tell us about life on the Bayou, and life-in-general.

    • You know what, Linda? I’m tired of reading the negative, too. If you’re happy, then I’m happy!! I’m not sure I’ve found a way around the educational bureaucracy as much as I just made my way around closed doors! But I will take what you say under advisement, analyze whether your words might have some merit, and see what else I can make happen in other realms of bureaucracy!!! And thanks so much for your kind words about my story telling. Miah is an easy subject!

  10. This is a great story! Miah has done so well in school! I remember first meeting him quite a few years back. He’s a wonderful young man!

    • He has become such a fine young man. We still have a ways to go, but I’m hoping that new doors will open next year and he can actually receive specific training at Food Service for a specific job. Glad you enjoyed the story!

  11. I am so happy for Miah. He looks so happy, contented and proud standing there in his tux. And his dream of his own place is wonderful. We should all be so lucky to have a dream and the determination he has. Makes a mother so proud of her children when they try so vigilantly. Congratulations Miah!!!

  12. Thanks so much for your kind words, Cammy. Sometimes, he is just so happy with life and content, that I forget to ask him how he’s doing! Society feels sorry for some of these people who are different than most of us, but I think it is they who should feel sorry for us! They just have this outlook on life totally unimpacted by the negative most of the time. Have a wonderfully blessed Mother’s Day, Cammy!

  13. Since Mark is packing for Alaska, I’ll chime in.

    food truck food truck Food Truck food truck FOOD TRUCK.

    Ok done now…..

    • Hey!! What a FABULOUS idea. It’s kinda weird – J doesn’t know I wrote this post and for days he’s been talking about “J.B’s Place”, meaning he has changed the name already! Does that name fit a food truck? So, now what do you think we should serve on this here food truck?

      • Keep it simple and serve something that isn’t the norm on the bayou. How about tacos, burritos and fajitas? And maybe some roasted corn as a side. Add a bit of fresh pico to top the items off and you have a meal. 🙂

      • Burritos, waffles, frozen yogurt or slushies. Kettle corn.
        My tostada pizzas?

        Mark can drive, I’ll drum up biz.

  14. It’s so good to hear about what Miah’s been up to. While I know it’s been a struggle for you all, Miah’s happy and you’re happy and that’s the best part.

    Kudos to the students at Miah’s school for being so supportive of him.

    P.S. I spent several days at work last week with purple stained mouth and fingers. The mulberries around my office have been at their peak!

    It’s too bad I can’t find a secret dewberry patch!

    • Hey purple lips, what you been eating? LOL!!! I’m picturing you sneaking out on break and nibbling off the mulberry tree! I wish i could send you some dewberries, but our patch is spent already. Not enough rain, but it’s on the way!

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