Hawgeyes BBQ

2008 Senior Q

October 14, 2008

 Roosevelt Academy and Swamp Boys BBQ Senior Q, October 14, 2008



October 14, 2008 marked our 4th fantastic year of participation in national Senior Q month. Thinking back over the previous Senior Q's, I realized that our students have helped make a positive impact on the lives of the residents at The Groves Center in Lake Wales, FL. In return, the seniors have touched our lives as well.
I estimate that we here at Roosevelt Academy have fed at least 750 seniors, their families, and our students over the past four years. Talk about barbecue bringing people together! And as great as it is that we are able to spend time with and show appreciation to the seniors of our community, it is equally as great that we are able to teach these important values to the students of our school. To say that many of our students come from less than desirable home situations is an understatement, so watching them come alive, interact so well, and show compassion during Senior Q is a magical thing. All of us agreed that this year was particularly special for some unknown reason. These kids, who usually have short attention spans and come from an instant gratification culture, actually spent a couple of hours sitting down at the dinner table with a stranger old enough to be their great grand parent talking, laughing, and sharing. The three other teachers who went with me and I just watched with pride as our kids exceeded our expectations with their social skills and compassion. Of course the seniors rose to the occasion as well, sharing the stories of their lives and experiences. It was obvious that they were enjoying the time by their smiles and laughter.
The kids were rightfully proud of the baked beans and cole slaw they prepared from scratch in their culinary arts class, and were eager to serve it to our lunch guests. Of course who doesn't love a slow-smoked pulled pork sandwich to go along with the sides? Everybody ate until they couldn't eat any more, and then it was time for dessert.
As in the previous 3 years, we were honored to join in the birthday celebration for Ms. Claire who was celebrating her 105th birthday that day. There were 3 other 100 years plus birthdays also being celebrated. After our southern-style barbecue lunch, the kids cleared the tables, and then we all joined in to sing "Happy Birthday" to the four centenarians. Everyone got to enjoy cake and punch and afterwards began saying their goodbyes. As we were preparing to leave, one woman gave home made gifts to the kids that they could share with their parents. There were hugs and handshakes, and lots of smiles. We all vowed to get together again next year - if not sooner - to do it all over again.
These past four years of participating in national Senior Q month have produced some of the most enjoyable and rewarding moments of my 20 years of being a special education teacher. Just when we begin to get frustrated in the classroom and with paperwork, and wonder what it is we're really doing and why, we get to come out with the kids into a real world setting and see what they are truly capable of and watch them shine. It definitely makes it all worth while, and we can thank barbecue for bringing us all together.
-Rob Bagby


Swamp Boys BBQ team is made up of Amy Bagby, Robin Harrison, Tammy Sanders, Woody Woodford, and Rob 'Rub' Bagby - pit master. Amy, Robin, Tammy, and Rub all teach together at Roosevelt Academy in Lake Wales FL. Roosevelt is an all-ESE school serving grades 6-12. Our main objective is to prepare our students to be productive, wage earning, tax paying citizens upon graduation.
 

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Ankeny, Iowa 50023
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