Humans of Plano West; Christine Kinard

Gabby Pippins, Writer

When you walk into US History teacher Christine Kinard‘s classroom, it is hard to miss the large cardboard “ribbon” hanging from the ceiling.  On one side, the cardboard is pink, with Mrs. Kinard’s name on it.  On the other side, dozens of little notes, written on pink paper, are glued to the ribbon. This decoration has a special meaning and a sentimental attachment for Mrs. Kinard.

 

“Well, I always keep letters that students write me on the filing cabinet, so I have a little section where I have got a bunch of letters, but last year I was diagnosed with cancer and it was really rough…my students were just fantastic, though, the whole year they were great because the kids understood and they were always trying to help me out…I had to be absent a lot for being sick or different things, so apparently on one of the times that I was sick, they passed around these little pink pieces of paper and were writing encouraging little notes on them. They put all of these notes in a jar and I was invited to go to the Plano West Pink Out football game. When I got there, they had made these gigantic cardboard pink ribbons and one had my name on it. They had put them on the fence outside the game, and at halftime, they called me down-it was me and two other teachers-we were called down to the field and the football players ran over and gave us both flowers and the jar that was full of all of the messages…”

 

“After the game, somebody had saved the pink cardboard ribbon from the fence and gave it to me. One of my students said ‘What are you going to do with your jar full of messages?’ and I said ‘I do not know, I want to display them but I do not know where to put them.’ She said, ‘How about this, how about I glue all of the messages to the back of your cardboard ribbon?’ By the way, this thing is tall. It is about two feet tall for a pink cardboard ribbon. Anyways, I told her ‘That is a great idea!’ so she took my messages and took the pink cardboard ribbon home and brought it back a couple of days later. All of the messages were glued on the back of it and so I put a string on it and hung it from the ceiling. Now it turns around and you can see all of them…”

 

“You know, sometimes when you are a teacher you do not feel appreciated, so it was like waterworks and it was crazy knowing what the kids said about me…some of the kids said so many nice things and it is so good to hear, so that was my important story, the thing that – I still cannot believe I did not take it home. I almost feel like going back up to the school, because my doctor made it sound like this staying at home thing was just going to be a very temporary situation. I would stay at home for a couple of weeks until I got used to my medicine, and then my medicine has been kicking my butt because all of the different medicines are interacting with each other so I have been stuck here…if I had known that I would have been gone this long that definitely would have been something I would take home. Knowing that I got the vaccine today and in three weeks I will get the second one and I will be able to go back to school and read the messages…during times like this it is tough and it feels like you need those messages, so I will have a good time reading them when I get back and it will be fun.”