School is where my friends are


by Eleanor Bailey



 photo of little girls painting each others' faces at a birthday party. Eleanor is in the center.


I am in Mrs. Karr's fourth grade class at Laurelhurst School in Portland, Oregon. I love it! I have always liked my schools. I have always had an aide to help me. Right now my aide is Lana Craig. She is cool! Lana helps me with work at school. She always tells me to "hustle." She wants me to be faster. Lana has a dog named Kola.
I had to read a book and tell the story to my class. In this assignment I have to pretend I am a character in the story. I chose Cinderella. My Mom and I went to a thrift store and bought a gown. I wore an old, dirty sheet over the gown and when it came time to go to the ball I tore off the sheet and everyone could see my gown. I did a good job.

This Spring we studied rockets. I got a plastic bottle. I put water, vinegar and baking soda in the bottle and then hurried to put the cork in. After a little while the pressure from the bottle blew the cork off and it was a rocket.
Some things in school are easy and some are hard for me. Math is hard but I don't do the same math as my friends. I go to a room once a day and do math and reading with my other teacher. Sometimes Lindsay is there too. She is in third grade and has Down syndrome like me.

I just turned twelve. I had a party at a swimming pool and forty kids came. We swam and then had cup cakes and juice and I got tons of presents. Mrs. Karr came too. I met my friend Amy at camp. She lives in Salem. She came to my party. She has Down syndrome too. So there were three of us with Down syndrome and everyone else doesn't have Down syndrome.
My friends said it was the best party they have ever been to. I got two Barbie dolls but I have to take them to my grandparents because my parents don't let me have them at our house.

Right now I am starting to play softball on a team. I will get a uniform. I already got a new softball glove. Next year I will be in fifth grade at the same school. Next year I will have a new aide because Lana wants to have a baby. I will miss her.
School has always been fun for me. Most of my friends are there and I love my teacher.

Eleanor is the daugher of Michael Bailey, who wrote for this issue about what it takes to keep Eleanor in a real class, with her friends, and what happens to kids whose parents don't or can't fight that hard. To read that story, click here.

Michael and Eleanor and Jonna and Taylor live in Portland, Oregon. To send them an email, click here.



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