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"Poppa? Why do we have to go here?" Kevin asked in a small voice.
"Because I think this will be something good for you and I want you to grow up to be as smart as you can possibly be." Allen said gently, then glanced in his rear-view mirror to see that Billy and Juana were keeping up with him.
"But you said you'd still love me if I was dumb." Kevin said seriously.
"Kevin, I will love you no matter what, and because I love you, I want the things that are best for you. That includes the things that will make you grow up to be big... and strong... and smart." Allen said slowly.
"But what if I don't get big or strong or smart?" Kevin asked even more quietly.
"It won't make a bit of difference. Just as long as you honestly tried your best, I'll be proud of every single thing you achieve." Allen said gently, then noticed Kenny looking at him in the rear-view mirror, so he quickly added, "That goes for all of you."
"I know it does Pop. I remember how you made such a big deal out of that clay ashtray I made for you in summer camp two years ago. You acted like it was the most beautiful thing you'd ever seen." Kenny said with a smile.
"Because it was... That was the first thing you ever made for me. You made a belt for your Dad and you made that ashtray just for me. If you'll go into my room when we get home, you'll find that ashtray on my dresser." Allen said seriously.
"It's just a weird little cup made out of clay... and you don't even smoke." Kenny said frankly.
"I keep the things from my pockets in it when I change clothes. I use it every single day and whenever I see it, I remember how proud you were when you gave it to me. That's why I want all you boys to have the best possible education. So you can all have that feeling of accomplishment again and again." Allen said, then quickly checked his mirrors before changing lanes.
"We'll be to Camp Little Eagle in just a minute. Just look at the place and give it a chance. If it turns out that you really don't like it, we'll come up with something else, I promise." Allen said, more to Kevin than the rest of the boys.
After a long moment of silence, Kevin finally asked, "Does Reuben and Ricardo get to go to Camp Little Eagle with us?"
"Reuben might, Ricardo is still too young to go to school." Allen said, then looked to make sure that Billy and Juana were still there.
"Lookit!" Kevin said as he pointed at the huge open gates.
"Are they going to lock us in here?" Jake asked with immediate panic in his voice.
"I don't know, we'll ask about that while we're touring the place." Allen said as he stopped his car at the security shack by the gate.
"Good morning sir. Could I please see your identification?" the security guard asked courteously.
"Of course." Allen said and pulled out his wallet.
The guard took Allen's Starfleet identification and looked at it carefully for a moment, then looked down at the clipboard in his hand.
"Welcome to Camp Little Eagle Mr. Thompson, I hope you and your children enjoy the tour of our facility. If you'll follow this road, there is guest parking to the right of the main cabin." The guard said pleasantly as he handed Allen his ID.
"Thank you." Allen said, somewhat surprised at the guard's politeness.
* * * * *
"This makes me wish I was a kid again so I could go to school here." Billy said as he looked around.
"You *are* a kid Billy." Deacon said with a chuckle.
Reuben ran up to the group standing by the cars and said, "Momma is changing Edovina, she said she'll be ready in a minute."
"Thanks Reuben, how do you like this place?" Allen asked with a gentle smile as he noticed Ricardo hurrying to Reuben's side.
"It's really pretty. I've never seen anyplace like this except on TV." Reuben said as he looked around curiously.
Ricardo tugged on the back of Reuben's shirt and urged him to lean down.
Ricardo whispered something to Reuben, then was quickly pulled into a hug.
"What's wrong?" Billy asked with concern.
"He's never been in the woods before, he's afraid there might be lions." Reuben said with a smile.
"It's okay Ricardo, the only lions in Florida are in the zoo. We can take you to see them if you want." Allen said gently.
Ricardo shook his head vigorously.
"Okay, then we'll save the zoo for some other time." Allen said, barely keeping the chuckle out of his voice.
As Juana approached the others, Jake quietly asked, "Would you mind if I carry Vina?"
"Here you go. She has just been changed." Juana said with a tender smile.
"Good morning everyone. I'm Chief Hawkeye Tecumseh, the head administrator of Camp Little Eagle."
"Nice to meet you Chief Tecumseh, I'm Allen Thompson, this is Billy Pierce and Juana Vasquez." Allen said pleasantly.
"A pleasure to meet you." Chief Tecumseh said as he shook each person's hand in turn, then looked at the boys and asked, "Who do we have here today?"
"These four are Jake, Xain, Kenny and Kevin Thompson." Allen said as he pointed to each boy.
"Five. You forgot Vina." Jake said with a teasing smile.
"How careless of me, this young lady in Jake's arms is Jake and Xain's daughter Edovina." Allen said with a proud smile.
Chief Tecumseh leaned in to get a good look at Edovina, then said in a gentle whisper, "Before I met Sean and Cory Short, I might have been curious as to how that was possible. Now... Let's just say that I know for a fact that anything can happen, and around here, it probably will..."
"I know that feeling." Allen said with a smile at Chief Tecumseh's peaceful nature.
After another moment, Chief Tecumseh looked up at Jake and said, "You two have a beautiful daughter."
"Thank you." Jake said with an equal mix of pride and respect.
"And Xain, I believe you will bring a refreshing point of view to our discussions. It will be good to have you amongst us." Chief Tecumseh said in a professional tone.
"I will endeavor to perform my duties adequately." Xain said seriously.
"Of that I have no doubt." Chief Tecumseh said with a smile.
"These are my sons Kenny and Kevin." Allen said as he indicated the boys.
Chief Tecumseh looked at Kenny and Kevin and quietly said, "Two minds, two spirits but one heart."
Kenny glanced at Kevin and nodded his agreement.
Kevin looked up at Chief Tecumseh and said, "Huh?"
"In time..." Chief Tecumseh said as he ruffled Kevin's hair, then turned and looked at Allen expectantly.
"Next we have Billy's brothers Deacon and Lawrence." Allen said with a smile.
Chief Tecumseh looked at the boys carefully, then got a distant look as he turned slightly to face a stand of trees.
After a long silent moment, Chief Tecumseh turned to face the boys again and gave them a secretive smile.
"Nice to meet you?" Deacon finally said in a hesitant voice.
"A pleasure and honor to meet both of you." Chief Tecumseh said with a large, delighted smile.
Deacon hesitantly looked at Lawrence in question to find an equally puzzled expression looking back at him.
"The difference between a good man and a great man is his willingness to accept the responsibility for the greater good." Chief Tecumseh said seriously as he looked Lawrence in the eyes.
"Um, okay." Lawrence said hesitantly.
Chief Tecumseh laughed and said, "Don't worry about it now, it will make sense later."
Deacon glanced at Lawrence and whispered, "That's what I'm afraid of."
Allen walked to Reuben and picked him up, then walked to Chief Tecumseh and said, "This is Reuben Vasquez."
Chief Tecumseh looked at Reuben for a moment, then smiled and said in a distant voice:
"One who will not see himself,
finds fault in others.
One who stands above the rest,
is weak when alone.
One who hides amongst the rest,
stands proud when in gold.
The least in size and in strength,
makes his brothers whole.
One is left who stands alone,
do you know his name?"
Reuben smiled at Chief Tecumseh and proudly said, "The thumb."
Allen looked at Reuben with astonishment, then over at Chief Tecumseh with question.
"I don't get it." Kenny said slowly.
"The first finger is the one that points, the second is the tallest, the only time you notice the third one is when it wears a ring and the pinkie is the smallest. All that's left is the thumb." Reuben explained with a smile.
"That's cool." Kevin said with a look of understanding.
"So it is. Welcome Reuben, all of you. Please follow me so we may begin. Beside the administration building is the cafeteria..." Chief Tecumseh said in a louder voice as he extended his arm to indicate the buildings they were approaching.
* * * * *
"There's a bunch of them." Mouse whispered as he tried to look out the window without being obvious.
"The tall one is cute." Simon whispered in return.
"Gentlemen, perhaps you could share with the rest of the class what is so interesting outside?" Mr. T said in a firm voice from the front of the classroom.
"I'm sorry sir. It's just that there's some new kids." Mouse said timidly.
Mr. T walked to the window and saw his father leading a group of people up the path.
"Are these the ones you mentioned Cory?" Mr. T asked curiously.
Cory stood from his seat and looked out the window.
"Yes sir. They're looking around the camp to see if they want to go to school here." Cory said seriously, then took his seat again.
"I see. My father mentioned that we might be receiving a visit from him this morning. If you'll continue to work on your assignments, the teachers will walk around and check on the progress of each group." Mr. T said seriously.
* * * * *
There was a knock on the classroom door which drew the attention of everyone in the room.
"Good morning Derek, do you mind if we interrupt your class for a few minutes?" Chief Tecumseh asked quietly.
"We've been expecting you. All the workgroups are finishing up their assignments, now would be the perfect time." Mr. T said as he stood back to allow his guests entry.
"Students, I'd like for you to meet the Thompson, Pierce and Vasquez families." Chief Tecumseh said in a booming voice.
All the students watched the group of people entering the room.
"I believe we adults should go outside for a few minutes and allow the children time to speak amongst themselves to get to know each other." Chief Tecumseh said with a gentle smile.
All the students watched as the parents, teachers and student-teachers filed out of the room.
* * * * *
Cory walked to the group at the front of the room and said, "Jake, why don't you and Xain follow me and I'll introduce you to our group."
Jake glanced at Xain, then followed Cory without comment.
Sean automatically went to Kenny and Kevin and drew them away to another group while Gabe led Deacon and Lawrence away.
"Come on Reuben, you can sit with us." Timmy said from his seat.
Reuben looked behind him to see that Ricardo was following and walked to the group of desks where Timmy was sitting.
"Reuben and Ricardo, these are my friends Trent and Jose." Timmy said proudly.
"Nice to meet you." Reuben said timidly as Ricardo clutched to his side in fear.
"Guys, this is Reuben and his brother Ricardo. They just moved here last week." Timmy said seriously.
"I just got here a couple weeks ago too. Are you gonna live here with us?" Jose asked curiously.
"No. We're going to live with my momma in our apartment. We just came here to see if we want to go to school here." Reuben said cautiously to the slightly older boy.
"It's nice here. There's no roaches or nothin like that and everyone takes really good care of us. They don't yell at us or hit us or nothin." Jose said frankly.
"G... G... Good f-f-food." Trent stuttered in a quiet voice.
"Trent has trouble talking sometimes. His words get stuck." Timmy explained.
"It'll be great if you go to school here, then I won't be the only Mexican anymore." Jose said frankly.
"Is it bad being the only Mexican?" Reuben asked quietly, feeling a little shame at asking the question.
"Not that bad. No one messes with me about it at all. I just think it'd be nice to have someone else like me around... do you speak Spanish?" Jose finished in a small voice
Reuben nodded cautiously.
"Can you teach me? I was raised by white people an never got to learn any Spanish at all. It's like I'm not a real Mexican if I can't speak Spanish." Jose asked hopefully.
Reuben smiled and nodded.
"C... c-c-can I learn t-t-t-too?" Trent asked hopefully.
"You can't even speak English..." Jose began to say when Reuben interrupted.
"I'll teach you both. Maybe your mouth will like Spanish words better than English ones." Reuben said with a smile at Trent.
Jose looked at Reuben consideringly for a moment, then said, "I didn't think of that. You're smart, I like you."
Reuben smiled at the statement and said, "I like you too."
* * * * *
"Kenny and Kevin, I'd like you to meet Mouse and Luke. You already know Kyle." Sean said as he approached a small group of desks.
"Hi. Nice to meet you." Kenny said politely as Kevin watched cautiously.
"Hi. Do you two want to go to school here?" Mouse asked with a trace of excitement in his voice.
Kenny looked at Kevin with question.
"I dunno." Kevin mumbled.
"This place is great. We get to go hiking and climbing and last week they took all of us into town and let us go to the mall and buy whatever we wanted. And every Saturday we all get to go to the library downtown." Mouse said with excitement.
Kevin looked at Luke curiously, trying to interpret his expression.
"Don't worry about Luke. He went through some really bad stuff so he doesn't talk much, but he's my best friend and everyone says that I talk enough for both of us so it's okay." Mouse finished with a smile.
Luke glanced at Mouse, then back to Kenny and Kevin and gave a nod of agreement.
"Is your name really Mouse?" Kevin asked quietly.
Mouse laughed and said, "My real name is Harold Eugene Mauser but it really doesn't fit me. I mean, the guys tried calling me Harry for a few days when I first got here but it just wasn't right. I guess because I'm small and my last name is Mauser that someone thought Mouse would be a good name for me and everyone started calling me that. At first I thought they were making fun of me because I'm short but now I like it. A lot of the guys have nicknames and I think mine is one of the best. I bet if you guys start going to school here you'll get nicknames too... Um, what was the question?"
Kyle giggled and said, "When you ask Mouse a question, he'll usually give you the answer but he'll take the scenic route to get there and there's no telling where you'll end up."
* * * * *
"Deacon and Lawrence, I'd like for you to meet Arlo and Simon." Gabe said with a smile.
"Nice to meet you." Deacon said automatically.
In a distant voice Arlo said, "It's a small room, a basement I think. The sunlight is burning in through the window, it almost hurts because it's so bright. There's two people holding each other. There's no fear, no pain, no doubt... only love. It's their first kiss... It's the moment when everything changes..."
"When? When are you seeing? Is there anything in the room that can help you see when it is?" Simon asked firmly.
"No... yes. Their shoes have buttons. And there's a lantern in the room." Arlo said in deep concentration.
Simon quietly said, "Come back Arlo, come back to here and now. What you're seeing was a long time ago."
Deacon and Lawrence watched in confusion as Arlo seemed to be struggling.
"It's okay. Let go of the moment and come back here. Just follow my voice and come back." Simon said even more quietly.
A moment later, Arlo got a surprised look as he glanced around the room.
"Did I do it again?" Arlo asked, sounding as if he were about to cry.
"Yeah, but only for a minute. Say 'hi' to Deacon and Lawrence." Simon said gently.
Arlo looked up at the two boys and timidly said, "Hi."
"Don't worry about Arlo, sometimes that just happens. He has this psychic vision thing that kicks in without warning. Most of the time it's something that happened a hundred or so years ago and doesn't matter, but last week he had one and found Trent's missing gameboy game." Simon said, then glanced at Arlo to see how he was doing.
"The Clan Short telepaths checked him out and the visions are real. They can't figure out where they're coming from, but they said that Arlo is really seeing something when he zones out like that." Gabe said seriously.
"I'm such a freak." Arlo said as he slumped down in his chair.
"I think we're all a little freaky somehow Arlo." Lawrence said quietly.
Arlo looked at Lawrence with question.
"Last week I felt like one of the biggest freaks on the planet. Since I've met Deke and the guys... I don't know. I just figured out that our differences make us into who we are. They make us special." Lawrence said seriously.
"Besides, people who are all the same are boring." Deacon said with a smile directed at Lawrence.
"Well, if that's true, you won't find any boring people around here." Simon said happily.
Arlo reluctantly nodded in agreement.
"We're thinking of going to school here. What do you guys think of the place?" Deacon asked seriously, wanting to change the subject.
"I think you'll like it. The teachers kind of make stuff fun." Simon said with a smile.
"How can school be fun?" Deacon asked cautiously.
"Well, you see how we're broken into little groups in here?" Simon asked seriously.
"Yeah." Deacon answered.
"We're supposed to work together to figure things out. We pick a leader, figure out what needs to be done and work as a group to solve whatever the problem is." Simon said happily.
"And there's not always just one answer and sometimes the right answer is 'no, it can't be done'." Arlo said, drawn in by Simon's excitement.
"Wow. That sounds a lot better than sitting and reading stuff out of a book." Lawrence said happily.
"Yeah, Chief Tecumseh says that the textbooks are here to give us the answers, but they serve no purpose if we read them without questions... or something like that. He talks like a fortune cookie sometimes but he's really smart." Simon finished in an impressed voice.
* * * * *
Jake and Xain walked slowly to the group of boys where Cory had been sitting when they entered.
"Guys, I'd like you to meet Jake and Xain and their daughter Edovina." Cory said to the seated boys, then said to Jake and Xain, "These guys are Devon and Uri." Cory said happily.
"A pleasure." Uri said with a thick Eastern European accent.
Devon nodded at Uri's statement and looked timidly at Jake and Xain.
"Nice to meet you." Jake said shyly.
"Greetings." Xain said formally.
Edovina started whimpering and fussing in Jake's arms.
"I think Vina needs her A'nirih." Jake said quietly.
"Caring father." Devon whispered to Uri.
"Do you speak Vulcan?" Xain asked as he accepted Edovina into his arms.
Devon looked at Xain in a moment of panic, then quickly said, "Yes... I mean no. I just know some words."
"I understand." Xain said peacefully as he rested Edovina's head against his shoulder and rubbed her back slowly.
"So what do you guys think of this place. Is it a good place to go to school?" Jake asked, then smiled at the sight of Xain holding Edovina so tenderly.
"I cannot say. It is the first school I have attended." Uri said shyly.
"I've been to a lot of schools, sometimes two or three a year and this one is the best one I've been to." Devon said, losing a little of his shyness as he was drawn into the conversation.
"Why." Xain asked curiously.
"Because no one makes fun of me here..." Devon said, then stopped abruptly and looked around.
A long moment of silence fell over the group until Cory said, "Devon got teased a lot at his other schools. He lived with his grandparents and they bought him clothes that were..."
"Nerdy." Devon said in a small voice.
Cory nodded and said, "Horned rimmed glasses, pocket protector... the works."
"You look pretty normal to me." Jake said honestly.
Devon looked at Jake hesitantly, then gave a timid smile.
"We got Devon set up with a decent haircut, wardrobe and contact lenses before he moved in here. He's just a normal guy just like anyone else here." Cory finished with a smile at Devon.
"I've never been looked at as normal before... I'm still figuring it out." Devon said quietly.
"Anyway, the partnership that Devon and Uri have seems to be working. Devon helps Uri catch up on his school work and English while Uri helps Devon with his social skills." Cory said frankly.
"A logical arrangement." Xain said seriously.
* * * * *
Mr. T walked into the room and looked around for a moment before saying, "I see you've adopted our visitors into your groups. That's good. If you'll all come outside, we have a practical exercise to demonstrate our teaching technique."
All the groups got up and followed Mr. T out of the room.
The group of adults and students followed Mr. T away from the classroom and down a rise to a part of the Camp that was under construction.
"The men who are working on our new cottage are inside taking a break, that gives us time to use some of the skills we've been developing in class." Mr. T said as he stopped by the porch of the cottage.
"As you can see, the steps have not been built for this cottage. The objective of this exercise is to determine how many steps will be needed. You will have fifteen minutes to find the answer. Bring it to me when you're finished and be prepared to explain how you found your answer. Any questions?" Mr. T asked as he looked around the group.
Mr. T noticed Sean holding up his hand and said, "Yes. Sean?"
"Are we required to use any particular method, and are there any restrictions?" Sean asked carefully.
"Good question. The only restriction is that you have to maintain your groups. Any other questions?" Mr. T asked seriously.
After a moment of silence, Mr. T said, "Go on, the clock is ticking."
After the groups of boys scattered in all directions, Allen said, "I like that you're teaching them to problem solve from a real situation rather than a theoretical word problem."
"Well, we still have the 'One train leaves from Chicago' type of problems, but that's mostly for the sake of SAT preparation. If we've done our jobs correctly, by the time the students reach that stage, those problems won't pose any serious difficulty because they'll have the skills to solve them both in the mathematical and practical sense." Chief Tecumseh said seriously.
"What are they doing?" Billy asked curiously as he noticed Timmy, Reuben, Ricardo, Jose and Trent sneaking around the side of the unfinished cottage.
"Taking a creative path to find the solution to the problem." Mr. T said with a smile.
"So there is more than one way to find the correct answer?" Juana asked curiously.
"The number of ways is only limited by the children's imaginations." Chief Tecumseh said with a smile of delight as he saw Kenny and Kevin's group quickly gauge the height of the porch with a piece of rope, then run up the hill.
"I have a feeling that we're going to get some interesting answers to your question." Allen said with a smile.
"I expect most if not all the answers will be the same, the methods for achieving the answers will most likely be drastically different.
Jake's group approached the porch and began taking precise measurements. As Uri called out each measurement, Devon wrote it down.
"You've got me really interested now. I can't wait to see what they came up with." Billy said with a smile.
"It is one of the rewards of teaching." Chief Tecumseh said with a nod.
* * * * *
Cory handed Mr. T his answer then took two steps back to stand with his group.
"With thirty-five seconds to spare. Good work everyone." Mr. T said as he looked over the answers.
"It seems that we are all in agreement that the correct answer to the question is five steps." Mr. T said then looked at Jake's group and asked, "How did you find the answer?"
Xain glanced at Devon and received a nod of encouragement to go ahead, "We went to the neighboring building and calculated the slope of the entry stairway and the height of each stair. Then we measured the height of the porch. It was then a simple matter of mathematics to determine the number of stairs."
Mr. T nodded, then turned to face Kenny's group and asked, "How did you find the answer?"
Mouse stepped forward and said, "We found out how tall the porch was, then went around to the other buildings until we found another one with a porch that was the same height."
Allen chuckled at the ingenuity of the solution.
Mr. T gave Mouse a nod of approval before he turned to Deacon's team and asked, "And how did you arrive at the answer?"
Simon stepped forward and said, "Arlo pulled up the blueprints for the building on the computer and it was written out right there."
Billy and Allen shared a smile at the solution.
Mr. T walked to Reuben's group and asked, "And how did you come up with the right answer?"
Timmy stepped forward and said, "I askeded the guys who were building the new cottage how many steps they was gonna build there and they told me."
Allen, Billy and Juana all chuckled at the solution.
"All the different solutions led us to the same answer. You have all done very well. Xain, I need to speak with you for a moment, the rest of you may go and have a snack in the cafeteria now if you would like. Students, be back to the classroom in fifteen minutes. The rest of you may join us in the administration building when you have finished your snack." Chief Tecumseh said in a happy tone.
Xain approached the group of adults cautiously with Jake at his side.
"Nothing to worry about young man. I just thought I would introduce you to your teacher while the others are having their snack." Chief Tecumseh said with a gentle smile.
"That would be acceptable." Xain said carefully.
* * * * *
"Thank you for waiting Miss Blacklance, I would like for you to meet Xain Thompson." Chief Tecumseh said in a peaceful tone.
"T'nar pak sorat y'rani." Miss Blacklance greeted Xain formally and held out her hand in the appropriate salute.
"T'nar jaral." Xain said, giving the customary reply.
"If it is acceptable, I will be administering the academic portion of your class load." Miss Blacklance said seriously.
"Academic portion?" Jake asked slowly.
"Yes. Xain will participate in the practical studies, physical education, arts and humanities with the rest of the students. The academic portion of Xain's studies will account for nearly half his day." Chief Tecumseh said, then turned to Xain and continued, "You will be attending class in the same room with those students you just met, and just as the other groups of students each have a teacher for their academic progress level you will have Miss Blacklance."
"I find the arrangement not only to be logical, but also satisfying." Xain said in a speculative voice.
"Good. My son has discussed this matter in detail with Miss Blacklance, T'Mal, Patriarch Short and your father. I believe we have found a balance that will allow you to progress academically without denying you the experience of participating with the other students." Chief Tecumseh said seriously.
"And we can make adjustments to the program if we need to as we go along. Just let us know if something isn't working for you." Mr. T said quietly.
"I will. Thank you all for your efforts on my behalf. I will endeavor to gain the full benefit from all the arrangements you have made." Xain said reverently.
"Who's that?" Reuben asked as he and Ricardo hurried into the main room of the academic office.
"This is Miss Blacklance, she is going to be Xain's teacher." Juana said as she bent down to give each of her sons a hug.
"Xain gets his very own teacher?" Reuben asked in surprise.
"That's right. If you decide to go to school here you'll be sharing a teacher with Trent and Timmy and Jose." Mr. T said warmly to Reuben.
"I thought you were going to be our teacher." Reuben said hesitantly.
"Well, I will in a way. I'm more like your teacher's teacher. I tell my teachers what to do and they tell you what to do." Mr. T said in thought.
"So you're like our grand-teacher." Reuben said with a smile.
Mr. T chuckled and said, "If that's the way you want to think of me. That's fine. And I guess that would make my father your great-grand-teacher."
"I like the sound of that." Chief Tecumseh said with a smile, then continued, "If anyone has any questions, I'd be happy to answer them now."
"Jake was concerned about the gate and the guards, I'd like to know about that." Allen said frankly.
"Yes. There are one or two of our children that various government and international agencies would like to get a hold of. For that reason, we have what is probably one of the three most secure facilities in the state of Florida."
"And the other two are across the street." Mr. T interjected.
"So the boys aren't locked in here." Allen said, wanting to be clear on that point.
"If there were indications of an intruder or another threat to security, then the gates would be closed and the facility would be locked down until the danger had passed. Otherwise, no. The boys won't be locked in." Chief Tecumseh said seriously.
Allen glanced at Jake and received a smile and nod in return that it was okay.
"There's a whole bunch of other guys having snacks now. We saw JJ and Justy." Kevin said with excitement as he walked in with the rest of the boys following him.
"Yes. We have many multi-level classes like the one you have observed. It is our belief that there is much benefit for the students to have peers of many ages rather than being segregated by age or grade level.
"Does anyone have any more questions for Chief Tecumseh before we leave?" Allen asked as he looked around.
All the boys were looking at each other curiously but no one answered.
"I have a message for all of you from Commander Dodds inviting you to the Southcrest Ranch at the conclusion of our meeting. I was also asked to tell Mrs. Vasquez that Teri Short will be at Southcrest as well." Chief Tecumseh said seriously.
"My fifteen minutes is almost up. I'd better get back to my class. It was a pleasure to meet all of you." Mr. T said as he walked toward the door.
"It was nice to meet you too." Allen said quickly.
"Did anyone have any other questions?" Chief Tecumseh asked as he looked around.
"No? Then it's been a pleasure to meet all of you. Please let me know when you have reached a final decision." Chief Tecumseh said pleasantly.
"I wanna go to school here." Kevin said immediately.
"Me too." Kenny said quickly.
"Guys. We aren't going to decide this today. We'll talk about it and make a decision tomorrow after we've had some time to settle down and think it over." Allen said seriously.
"That sounds like a good idea to me. What do you guys think?" Billy asked Deacon and Lawrence.
"Okay by me." Deacon said honestly.
"Me too." Lawrence said with a nod.
Allen glanced at Juana and received a nod in return.
"We'll call you either tomorrow or Friday when we've reached a final decision. I think you're going to end up getting the whole squad." Allen said with a smile.
"I think you're right." Chief Tecumseh said happily.
"Thank you for taking the time to show us around. Hopefully we'll be seeing you soon and often." Allen said as he shook Chief Tecumseh's hand.
"It is my hope that it is to be so." Chief Tecumseh said reverently as he shook each of the adult's hands in turn.
"Goodbye!" Ricardo called and waved as the group headed toward the door.
"Goodbye." Chief Tecumseh said with a tender smile as he returned the wave.