I had this great group of kids for two years.

It was my last year of teaching in Tucson right before my big Phoenix move. This massive group (since we rotated classes, with me teaching ELA, meant I actually worked with three separate classes) was one I was lucky enough to “cycle” with. In the teaching world, this means I got to move a grade level with them.

My district was going through some changes. Two schools needed to be closed to make room in the budget for everyone else to survive, so they’re kids and educators moved throughout the district, joining schools they had never attended, and this meant some elementary schools needed to add on a 6th grade. My group of 5th graders were not going up to middle school just yet. They were staying one more year, which many of them were not happy about.

To make it easier, I was asked to move up grade levels with them to help the transition, meaning I was no longer a 5th grade teacher, but now a 6th grade.

And we played Magic.

And we talked Doctor Who.

And we listened to Final Fantasy music.

And we read Percy Jackson books.

And we were open, and honest, and mad, and loved every single moment with one another. They were a brilliant group who all just graduated from high school in May of 2021.

I miss that group a lot.

Project: DEED is my love letter to that group of kids. Without revealing too much about it, it’s centered around the kids whom I played Magic the Gathering with, every day at lunch, then every Friday after school. While the main characters of the book aren’t based around just one of my kids, more like a big mish-mash of a few different ones, I know them.

And I miss them. And I hope they’re doing well. And I hope this book does that special time in Tucson before my life completely changed justice. Thought I started writing it nearly 5 years ago, I didn’t think I was a good enough writer then to tell the stories.

Hopefully, I am now.

Thanks for reading,

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