Sunday, June 28, 2015

"The Little Lambs and the Very Special Mission" The Back story & 2015 Scholarship announced

Every penny from the sale of this book
goes to the "Angels in Charge Scholarship" award
for kids from Newtown High School.
"The Little Lambs 
and the Very Special Mission" 
~ The Back Story ~
~2015 "Angels in Charge" 
Scholarship Recipient Announced ~

December 14, 2012: a date forever emblazoned in my mind and heart. 

It has been two and a half years since the horrific massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  The loan gunman, Adam Lanza, had enough ammunition to kill 500 people. He entered Sandy Hook Elementary School with the intent to kill as many people as he could find. In less than 5 minutes, Lanza killed 6 educators and 20 innocent children, 6 and 7-year-old first graders.

When I heard the news, I couldn't believe my it.  My first thought was - "This can't be happening!  This doesn't happen in our schools!  This doesn't happen in America!"

I wept.  My heart hurt.  My soul mourned.  I prayed.  How could this happen?  How could this happen in OUR courtry?  What is going on? What has happened to the souls and morals and foundation of our people?

I prayed so hard! I prayed for those darling babies, for their families, for their teachers, and for their
community. How could this happen?  Schools [and churches and theaters and stores] are supposed to be safe places, not killing fields.  Our schools are places where our kids go to learn and to be with their friends and to have exciting educational experiences.  Kids don't get killed in schools!

I'm a retired elementary school teacher.  My first assignement was teaching first grade - I taught 6-year-olds!  Those babies were excited and eager to learn!  As their teacher, I helped them learn how to read.  I taught them math and how to write. We played together on the playground.  Those babies were my kids and they were were the SAME age as those children that were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

As the news of Sandy Hook crashed into my consciousness, I thought about my first students - my little first graders.  They trusted me. They depended on me to keep them safe during their school day. And I did that.  I kept them safe to the best of my ability.

I related to the Sandy Hook Elementary School teachers.  I know they loved their students.  I know they did their best to keep their kids safe.

I also know they practiced lockdown drills. Lockdown drills mean: lock your door [if you have a lock], turn off the lights, hide your students to the best of your ability, and maintain silence at all times until the "all clear" signal.  I did that with my students.  I know the hero teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School did the same thing.

The "Angels in Charge"
escorting the Little Lambs to Heaven.
Illustration by Rhonda Paglia and Taylor Galaska.
How the "Little Lambs and the Very Special Mission" came to be
During my prayers for the children and teachers of Sandy Hook, I was "given" a story.  What do you do when you are given something during your prayers? I didn't ask for it.  It was "given" to me.  I had two voices in my ears.  One voice said, "Don't get involved."  The other voice said, "I gave you this story, you are to tell it."  That is the voice I listened to.

The story and images I saw in my mind gave me comfort and hope.

I wrote the story and illustrated "The Little Lambs and the Very Special Mission" to the best of my ability, but I couldn't create all the illustrations.  I needed help and God sent me help in the form a 14-year-old angel/student named Taylor Galaska.  Taylor drew what I couldn't.  He drew the hands of God, the Angels in Charge, the Green Angel, and the Great Shepherd.  With Taylor's illustrations, "The Little Lambs and the Very Special Mission" came to life and took wings.

Honoring the fallen children and teachers

As a retired teacher, I wanted to do something to honor the fallen teachers.  I wanted Newtown to know that there are people in our country who care about their kids and their community.  I created the "Angels in Charge Scholarship" award for seniors graduating from Newtown High School who are planning a career in education.  Since the release of "The Little Lambs and the Very Special Mission" in April 2013, this little book has generated $5500.00 in scholarship funds.  Taylor and I are hoping the scholarship will grow so we can continue give back to this one community that has lost so much.  We are also hoping the little lambs' BE messages will touch people's hearts and help our world become a better, kinder place for everyone.

2015 "Angels in Charge Scholarship" Recipient Announced

About the 2015 scholarship recipient:  
I am so pleased that to announce that Brooke H__________ was presented the 2015 "Angels in Charge Scholarship Award" on June 3, 2015 at the Newtown [CT] High School Awards Ceremony.

The Green Angel
I received this message from the Newtown High School College and Career Center about Brooke: "This year's recipient for the "Angels in Charge Scholarship" is Brooke H.  Brooke has plans of becoming a teacher, she has applied for every scholarship for which she has met the criteria, and she has overcome some major obstacles in her life. Brooke completed two-30 hour internships at 2 different elementary schools in our district, with glowing reports.  She is a hard working and focused young lady and is truly deserving of this scholarship."

I was delighted to present Brooke with a scholarship check of $500.00 from the sale of "The Little Lambs and the Very Special Mission."  I just wish it had been more!

I wrote Brooke a letter that accompanied the scholarship check.  The letter ended like this: "Thank you so much, Miss Brooke, for being a shining light in your school and community.  You have proven yourself to be a special angel who is going help make our world a better place!!"  

NOTE:  The recipient is pictured in the Newtown Bee article on Newtown High School Awards Night and recipients.  She is seen receiving one of her many senior awards.  Congratulations, Miss Brooke . . . and God Bless the Brooke's in this world, who are the lights serving as role models and future leaders.  They will help make our world a better place for everyone. 

Copies of the "Little Lambs and the Very Special Mission" are available from Amazon in both soft cover and for Kindle: Order now from Amazon

Signed copies are available from both author, Rhonda Paglia and co-illustrator, Taylor Galaska, by messaging the author at: .