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The Richie Reader Awards…from Hell, of course January 22, 2009

Posted by hopeauthority in Autism, Children, Parenting.
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Well, we’ve established that birthday parties can suck. Problems when your kid gets invited and problems when he doesn’t. But there’s another area that gives birthday parties a run for their money when it comes to potential for disaster…

Awards ceremonies.

Some background… before the rant: My son’s elementary school has a program that’s been around longer than 25 years called “Richie Reader” program. Starting each September, every kid in the school is encouraged and expected to participate and read more books than could possibly be devoured by the nerdiest of bookworms. (To date, over 59,000 books have been read this year.) Log sheets are filled out of all the books read and are signed off by the parents. Then they’re converted to stamps on giant tally sheets along the hallway walls. Legions of PTA volunteers work countless hours keeping track. Mega-long year end award ceremonies involve trophies and ribbons and pomp and circumstance. Monthly award ceremonies are held where each class sends 2 reps to be called upon to go on stage and shake the hand of the most frightening mascot this side of Tokyo: Richie Reader.

Wanna guess who the rep was in Fabio’s class for today’s monthly ceremony?

This Richie Reader mascot is freakin scary. No two ways about it. I swear there were 5th graders whose knees were quivering at the thought of approaching this thing awaiting them on stage. I don’t know if he is an alligator or a dinosaur or a dragon. He’s green, with sharp white teeth, an alligator-type mouth agape, and terrifying, flaming yellow eyes (where the whites should be).

He looks like what you’d get if you crossed Dorothy the Dinosaur with Godzilla. Then embalmed it.

So we go to this noisy, over-crowded event. Listen to the BS speeches. Marvel at how nicely Fabio is sitting in his seat right up front. Video camera ready. Two proud parents to support him… Enter the dragon.

Fabio’s name is called, thankfully in quick succession with the rest of the 1st grade reps, who dutifully and quickly fill the stage. Where is he?

Still in his seat. That’s where.  Right where I expected him to be. And there was nothing dear enough on the planet that could have been offered as a reward for going up on that stage at that moment. I’m amazed he didn’t flee the scene, frankly.

Yep, that video footage is gonna be lots of fun to watch over the years. Should’ve used the tape from last summer’s end of the year Richie Reader ceremony… where his aide carried him up on the stage with him hiding his face in her boobs (smart kid). Or maybe his pre-school graduation… where he wouldn’t go onstage for his diploma…or wear the doofus cap either.

For a “ham”, he is amazingly anxious and shy at such events. And I don’t blame him one bit. But I just hate these ceremonies. With the tape rolling, I keep thinking  Maybe this will be the time he goes up there.

With that monster waiting in the wings for his approach, I doubt his time will come any time soon. Someone should just slay it and make it into something useful like a pair of shoes and a bag.

That thing is just scary enough to make a kid choose illiteracy.



1. MOMSBLESSINGS - January 27, 2009

Thank you so much for that! I haven’t laughed that hard in so long and after the day I had today, I surely needed a good laugh. You have that monster pegged, I had the same experience with the ceremony, my son went down on the floor when he was guided up to the stage, the first words out of my mouth were don’t make him! What a reward for all of that reading. Geez, even Barney has improved in appearance over the years, what are they thinking! I could just picture the aides saying Fabio don’t you want to go get your award? And him sweetly replying “no thankyou”.

2. hopeauthority - January 28, 2009

Yeah..but I can imagine what he would have said if they forced the issue!! I was waiting to hear him wail “I said no…god dammit!”

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