Before he and his family left, we had a small party for his birthday and to say goodbye. Each child made him a card to wish him luck in his new school. (And a couple students "wrapped" up the foot off the chair that he'd broken as a gift, which caused much laughter).
I just received a message from his mother on facebook. She told me:
I cleaned out T's backpack with him the other day and in there were all of the cards the kids had made for him in (our state). I asked him why they were in his backpack, and he said for courage. Thanks for sending him off with courage.He has carried those cards with him for SIX months. Every day. For courage.
When people ask me why I teach and why I strive to do well at what I do, stories like this will be my answer.