|Day 9 of 31 at TWT!|
I decide to let her try to be tough for a few minutes, so I return to my stack of papers. But when I peek back up, her furious blinking and deep breaths are not doing anything to diminish the salty waves threatening to spill onto her face.
"Hey," I sneak gently over beside her seat. "Would you like to go walk around for a few minutes? A break always helps."
Her shoulders relax as she nods gratefully. A small smile barely creeps onto her face. "Yeah. Thank you."
She's been testing for hours, and she still has a long way to go, on this third of five grueling days. Less than two months ago, she arrived from Egypt with enough credits to enroll as a senior. Unfortunately, that means this is her first and only chance to pass all five sections of the Ohio Graduation Test in order to graduate with her class. Even though she's only had two months of American education and therefore hasn't even had the opportunity to learn some of the material she's being tested on. Even though she's still developing her academic language skills in English. (She's an advanced ELL, but still!)
Sure, she can retake the tests in the summer and even come back to take them next year, but she'd miss the cap and gown, Pomp & Circumstance, worrying about tripping onstage, and turning that tassel as one with hundreds of her peers. And she knows it.
Those tears have tried to peek through every day this week, and I bet they will again the next two days. Mine certainly would.