Monday, May 26, 2008

2008 Graduates

I love three-day weekends--especially when we don't have any essential plans. So, we got a few things done around the house, but mostly spent time playing outside, napping and having fun family time. We went to the McGowan's boat in Saugatuck, went to the parade in Holland, went to the park and took a few naps. I've decided that since we won't likely be taking many vacations this year, maybe Lance will just take some random Mondays off on occasion so we can have some three-day weekends more often.

I came to a realization today. The students I taught in my first year of teaching might be graduating this year. I say "might" because, unfortunately, most of them have likely chosen to follow a different path. I taught a class of 29 very difficult fourth graders in a bad neighborhood. As teachers, we were not allowed to stay at school after 5:00 because of the high crime rate in the area. I remember once walking out to my car and having a teenage boy with his hands on my trunk while a police officer patted him down. Yes, most of these kids were not raised with positive role models. None of their parents went to college. Only two lived with their mom and dad, and only one of those couples was married. I once asked about their future goals and found out that only 2 of my students even planned on graduating from high school. One of those was hoping to go to college. Her name was Kiwana and she was being raised by her grandparents. On my 22nd birthday, Kiwana said "Hey, my mom's 2 years older than you!" Kiwana was 10. Do the math. Anyway, I'm wondering if Kiwana or any of my other former students made it. Though that year was the worst of my life, professionally, and my stress level was so high, I struggled to keep my weight above double-digits, I really hope for the best for those kids. And though I imagine it will be much more likely for my to hear about one of these kids on the evening news with a mug shot accompanying the story, I'd like to imagine at least some of them made it to this graduation and are heading to college to do bigger and better things with their lives than they could have imagined in fourth grade.

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