A Champions family reunion


Balaoro, Champions alumni and their parents got together to celebrate the end of the school year and have a class reunion

To celebrate the end of the school year, Champions Site Director Charmaine Balaoro invited her first-ever class at Champions in Elk Grove, Calif., back to the site in June to celebrate and reminisce.

“We invited our Champions alumni, now 12 and 13 year olds, to join us for a Champions reunion,” she said. “To my surprise, children walked into the program with smiles on their faces, and gave me huge hugs.”

The children may have grown up quite a bit since leaving Balaoro’s program, but they haven’t forgotten the fun times they’ve had at Champions.

“I pulled out an old photo of their Kindergarten class and we laughed about how young we all looked,” said Balaoro. “My students aren’t little anymore! They’re taller, smarter, and so considerate. That was a gift to see.”

To commemorate the reunion, Balaoro and her former students recreated their Kindergarten photo.

“Now they’re in 6th grade and going on to middle school,” said Balaoro. “They’ve grown into leaders who show compassion to their peers.”

Parents were thrilled to see their children share a happy moment with their former teacher.

“John is so lucky to have you be a part of [our child’s] life!” one parent said to Balaoro.

“Thank you for all that you have done for us,” said a former student. “You encourage us to face challenges and try our best. Thank you for always being there for me, whenever I needed you!”

The reunion was an experience Balaoro won’t soon forget.

“There are times when, as a teacher, you feel you aren’t making a difference, and then one day something happens that brings it all into perspective,” she said. “I will treasure the reunion forever! Champions teachers do make a difference!”

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