April 7, 2021
Oakmont High School
|Kellisa's first day of school.|
Mandarin Oaks Elementary - Jacksonville, FL
August 7, 2002
Lisa and I will be attending Kellisa's last IEP meeting by Zoom. We've been doing these for 19 years and it's hard to believe our work with the local school district is coming to an end with Kellisa.
Kellisa loved going to school, from riding the bus to her classroom to wheeling around Oakmont High School delivering the mail. She loved everyone she came in contact with and they loved her back. Kellisa couldn't wheel anywhere without students and staff yelling, "KK" which was always greeted with smiles and kisses. School was Kellisa's world.
Like millions of other kids, her world changed when she was lowered from her bus on Friday, March 13, 2020. We knew her school was shutting down, but we were hopeful it would only last 3-4 weeks. Little did we know at the time that Kellisa would never return to the place she ruled. Besides missing out on daily activities and missing her friends, Kellisa missed her last dances, prom, and graduation.
She's been going to school since she was 3-years-old and earned the right to have an amazing last year. I know it's more important that we've kept her safe during a global pandemic, but Kellisa has always missed out on so much and as her parents, we've missed out on most of the milestones and joys of being a parent. We have to wonder, "WHY?"
We will be discussing Kellisa's options in the community once she ages out of public school next month on her 22nd birthday. We should have been attending and observing the different programs and jobs available to her to help us make our decisions, but that hasn't been possible. We know there were some amazing programs pre-COVID, but have no idea what they look like now, if anything is even operating.
Kellisa has been doing better than expected locked up at home for more then a year, but we can tell she's going a little stir crazy after spending her first 21 years going at breakneck speeds. We do have some hopes and plans for Kellisa once it's safe for her to venture out, but for now, we endure.
We've been holding out hope for a miracle so Kellisa could return to school at some point. Even though we've known for awhile it wasn't to be, reality is hitting hard as we prepare for one last sit down with Kellisa's school to discuss, "The End".