Perhaps the busiest month of the year for parents of school-aged kids.
Last May, I remember having 2 sets of events that overlapped. One was Michelle’s Confirmation, same night as Thomas’ Senior Awards Night and the other was one of Michelle’s Dance Recitals, same afternoon as Thomas’ Baccalaureate. I went to Thomas’ Awards Night, while Keith, my Mom, and Chick (her Sponsor) went to Michelle’s Confirmation. Keith and I both attended Thomas’ Baccalaureate, and we commissioned Aunt Amy to get Michelle to her Dance Recital.
Of course, I would never want to miss those Senior moments with Thomas. But now, looking back, what I miss most from last May is Michelle’s Confirmation. But it’s what all parents have to do in busy times – divide and conquer. Michelle was so happy for her Confirmation, she took it seriously, meeting with Chick….and if they couldn’t meet in person, she would call her on the phone and they would talk and discuss different topics. I still remember Michelle telling me, “Mom, Chick and I both decided we need to read the Bible more.” …………
Shortly before she died, Michelle was showing me the journal that Chick had kept, documenting some of their conversations. After Mass, Chick gave it to Michelle to keep. After she died, I looked and looked for that journal. I couldn’t find it. I looked here and there for weeks. Really not wanting to go into her room, but really wanting to know where Michelle put that journal after she showed it to me. Then one day, when I was in her closet, I looked up and saw a stack of stuff. It was Chick’s journal and her own journal and all of the letters that people wrote to her for her Confirmation Retreat. I didn’t even touch the pile. I haven’t read any of it. I was just content to find it. I texted Chick and simply said, “I found it.” and she knew what I meant.
What’s my point of all of this? I’m having trouble believing that Michelle has been gone for an entire academic year. Her Freshman year. St. Catherine will soon have Confirmation, her Dance Recital will be next weekend, Baccalaureate will be coming up, and this year’s Senior Awards are tonight.
Tonight, the first person will be awarded The Michelle Chalk Scholarship. This is only possible because of a huge outpouring of support from people both near and far who simply wanted to do something to help.
33 applicants, 33 names redacted, 33 sets of applications given to the Screening Committee made up of all of Michelle’s adult cousins, and Thomas. From those 33, each reviewer identified their top fifteen (a meaningful number). The ranked list was presented to the Selection Committee made up of HHS Principals and Counselors to determine the 1 recipient.
Tonight will be difficult. Thankfully, Michelle’s Godmother, Elizabeth Roberts Nelson, has agreed to present the scholarship. Keith, the boys, family members, and I will be in the audience to witness the special night. We feel so blessed to be able to do this. To give back, in a way, to the school that Michelle loved, and to help one individual get a small kickstart to college. I think all of this would make Michelle very happy.
She lived and she loved. Now we live and love for her and because of her. And with this very first scholarship, we keep her light shining, in hopes that no one will ever forget Michelle Chalk.
Michelle’s last awards day ever. We are so proud of her. She went out with a bang.