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Child Named “Star Student”
Classmates rush to draw her portrait, as is customary for such coronations
Yesterday, when she came home, Kina marched up to me and confidently informed me that she was this week’s star student. This is an enormous deal.
She has been talking about the concept of a “star student” since the beginning of the year. It is an award that Kina speaks of in hushed tones. Odin has been star student, and Georgia, and Dean. She tells us these things as though they are the product of major national elections.
They are not, of course. It appears to be a process of random selection (because this is kindergarten), but I am no less proud of her for this. For her part, Kina was clearly over the moon about the surprise. The life of a five year old is punctuated by moments of random personal recognition—run-ins with friends, games of duck-duck-goose, nominations to star studenthood. I miss that kind of joy.
Apparently, when you are named star student, all the other kids in class draw your portrait, and the portraits are all stapled into a little book that you get to take home. Ms. Chelsea includes a page at the very start of the book that tells us how old Kina is (“4”), what her favorite food is (“pasta”), and what her favorite activity is (“spending time with family”1).
Kina and I spent a while looking at that book, at everybody’s portrait of her, and I got to see how all the other kids in class see Kina—messy hair, happy, mischievous, engulfed by clouds of hearts. It was the first time I really got to experience a sense of Kina being part of a community. To see her through the eyes of other kids was a real gift to both of us—an entire classroom’s vision of her.
Apparently, when Ms. Chelsea called out that Kina was star student, the entire class ran to her side to take a closer look at her for the portrait, prompting Ms. Chelsea to remind everybody that they could very easily draw her from their seats. I get it, though, really: Kids know better than most of us that you really have to get a closer look at Kina—much as we do here, in this paper—to best tell her story.