It was January 2012, I took a picture of my then second graders jumping off the sidewalk. Then just because it was such a fun picture, I immortalized them in black and white as my blog header.
In 2015 those second graders graduated from fifth grade and moved up to Middle School. So just for fun I took another picture, same location, same order. It was amazing that in such a transient community the core group of this class was pretty much the same. Three years later and the picture looks much different.
In May of 2018 my friend Anne organized the graduating Eighth Graders for a jump shot in the exact same order. You can see the group was significantly reduced in number. Of the group of 9 moving on to middle school, only five remained for the shot. Four of the students had returned to their home countries - two permanently and two for home assignment with their families. So in reality out of that core class of 10 that I taught in Second Grade 7 students remain which I would say is still pretty incredible! Not to mention that they have actually been joined by quite a few more students.
And here they all are! The Eighth Grade has adopted a Nigerien cultural practice of dressing up in a uniform to celebrate their graduation. Nigeriens often do this for special occasions such as wedding celebrations or simply to show their identity as belonging to a certain group.
One thing that hasn't changed - they are still a great bunch of kids!