Charlotte Bleyle shares that she goes by Charlee as we chat. A fourth grader at Momence, Charlee is lighthearted and talkative, easily jumping from subject to subject. We quickly cover a lot of ground. I learn that she got braces on her teeth two weeks prior and that she’s a picky eater but enjoys cheese, especially macaroni and cheese and grilled cheese sandwiches.
BY BARRY ENGELHARDT
But mostly, I learned that Charlee is a happy-go-lucky child excited by life and its many aspects. She’s curious by nature and laughs easily. You can hear the smile in her voice as she talks, earnestly sharing that she wants to leave the world better than she found it. From something as simple as choosing not to litter to as complicated as hoping to become a doctor, she wants to help others along their journey.
Charlee is lighthearted and talkative, easily jumping from subject to subject.
Charlee’s favorite subjects are math and science. She says her class has just started working on what she describes as a little bit of division problems. She admits she finds them tricky but makes the interconnection between division and multiplication, suggesting ‘they’re kind of like sisters.’ Charlee also enjoys reading and writing, considering Bad Kitty and Dog Man her favorite book series.
One of her favorite aspects of school is Blooket, a website and tablet-based application designed for ‘matching action with education to create the ultimate learning experience.’ Blooket classifies itself as a ‘new take on trivia and review games’ that allows teachers to select question sets and game modes that can mirror and enhance their current learning objectives.
“It’s not new to me, but it’s new to a lot of kids in my class,” shares Charlee, who adds that her father taught her how to play it on their home computer when she was eight. She describes it as “a game with math and reading equations where you can try different things.” She adds, “You can add your friends and play against them. It’s kind of like a race.”
Charlee lives a rich life filled with sports and parent-planned adventures when not in school. Her family has three dogs—Rockne, Lambo, and Pudge—and a cat named Stella. When, based on her animal names, she’s asked if she’s a Green Bay Packers fan, she laughs gleefully and proclaims, “No, but my dad is.”
While Charlee may not be as into the Packers as her father, she shares that she and her family have attended a pair of Notre Dame football games. No stranger to the typical Notre Dame gameday experience, she admits, “We didn’t stay too long because it was the dead of winter,” only to add, “and the other time, it was raining.”
Besides sharing football road trips with her father, she recently attended a learn-to-paint night with her mother, where she shares that she learned how to paint a panda. She loves to paint and draw with colored pencils, but not crayons, enjoying the added control of colored pencils. When drawing, she says she “takes inspiration from something and tries to recreate it and see how close she can get to it.” Some recent subjects have been one of her favorite toys and her cat, Stella.
While it’s hard to imagine squeezing more into her days, she has played soccer for the last four years and cheered for the previous three, explicitly enjoying the positive aspects of being on a team with her friends. She’s also played softball and basketball but considers playing as a defender on the soccer team her favorite. “That’s my go-to,” says Charlee, giggling as she adds, “I don’t want to be on offense. If I was on offense, I’d probably just stay back and defend.”
From playing games with her classmates in Blooket to focusing on being a good teammate in cheer and soccer to sharing in her father’s love of football and her mother’s passion for art, Charlee loves to find the best in others. From the classroom to a rich balance of extra-curricular activities to adventuring with her family, Momence provides her countless opportunities to see the richness of a life filled with optimism and exploration, precisely the type of life Charlee chooses to live.