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    Bringing a Bear to School

    Tyrone was so happy that his teacher said they were going to have a special celebration for a unit they had been studying on Bears in his class. They had been reading many bear books lately. Some of the books were about real bears and some were books about make believe bears like Paddington and others. Mr. Clark, his teacher, wanted the students to relate to their own real life experiences. The students were talking about the celebration during class one day.

    Mr. Clark told them they could bring a stuffed bear from home if they wanted to or another stuffed animal for the day of the celebration. The girls were all excited. The boys were laughing and snickering about how dumb that idea was. They were saying only sissies would bring or have a stuffed toy. Tyrone's mouth frowned. He loved his Beary. He had Beary since he was just a tiny baby. Tyrone's grandfather had brought it to his mom on the day Tyrone was born. His grandfather had passed away several years later, and Tyrone held Beary all the time he thought about his grandfather. He even saved his allowance and special birthday money to buy his stuffed bear clothes. When Tyrone joined the soccer team, Beary got a soccer outfit. When he joined t-ball, Beary got a baseball uniform, too. So why were the boys making fun of having a stuffed bear? Tyrone did not understand.

    The teacher sent home a note the weekend before the celebration explaining to parents what the next school day (Monday) would be like. Mr. Clark said that the students could bring their own stuffed animal if they chose to do so for a show and tell part of the celebration. They were even having zoo personnel come and share their experiences with the bears at the zoo. There would be Bear shaped cookies and cakes, too! Mr. Clark was also bringing his video of his trip to Russia where he saw many polar bears.

    It sounded like so much fun! But, Tyrone was still hesitant on whether or not he should bring Beary to school. He wanted to show him off with his clothes and all. He wanted to tell the story of how his grandfather bought him the bear and how much it means to him still.

    When Tyrone got home from school on Friday afternoon, he showed his mom the note from Mr. Clark. He had a puzzled look on his face. His mom said it sounded like the class was going to have a wonderful time on Monday. His sister, LaTasha, started laughing loudly. "Oh, please tell me you are not thinking of taking Beary?" she exclaimed.

    "I was, but the other boys would probably make fun of me."

    His mom said, "Why would they do that, Tyrone? Don't you think they have stuffed animals, too?"

    "Maybe mom, but they would never admit it or bring them to school."

    So all weekend long, Tyrone pondered what to do. Right before bedtime on Sunday night, he made his decision. Beary and his outfits were ready to go!

    On Monday morning, Tyrone's mom decided she would take him to school herself rather than have him walk or ride the bus. When they arrived at his class, Mr. Clark was greeting all of the classmates. The entire classroom was decorated with bears of all sorts. On the front of Mr. Clark's desk was a beautiful stuffed bear. A sign in front said, "My Buddy!" Tyrone grinned from ear to ear as he joyfully took out Beary, dressed him in his baseball uniform, and put him on his desk. He made his own sign, "My Beary!"

    Needless to say it was a great day for Tyrone. Several of the other boys had brought their stuffed animals and stuffed bears, too.

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