OK, a little preface here. I was in education 37 years. Each year lets say I got to interact with 70 new students ( probably on the low side especially when I was coaching), multiplied by 37 years and I may have interacted with around 2500 people. Again, low side probably. Graduates from my first year are now probably 54 or 55 years old. We all change. I seriously don’t or even can’t remember everyone or while I can remember faces pretty well, I can’t remember names. Please don’t feel bad if I can’t remember your name! You only have to remember one ugly old face to remember me. Please remind me when we see each other – especially if you have aged 20 years or more or you have a beard now! I DO want to reconnect though! It is also funny that when I meet someone who was a student or a parent of a student, ninety percent of the time they ask if I remember a discipline instance. I will tell you right now probably not. Those are not the high points of my life. I can remember a couple where the students were trying to get me (and did), but other than that, I try to forget (and do a pretty good job of that.) I do think that is funny though.
I would like to write about three students who have made a big difference in my life. There are a lot more, but look at the title here – part 1. Let’s call them Danny M, Julia B, and Joey B. These stretch throughout my career and like I wrote, made and continue to make a positive difference in my life.
Danny M. Oh boy! What do I say here? He is one fantastic man that I will say God forgot to put a muffler on his voice when it comes to conversations! He will say anything to anyone, anywhere, especially if he thinks he can embarrass you, but let me tell you he is one of the most original and real persons I have ever met. I have had more deep, personal, and life altering conversations with him than I have any other student. He is quick to offer thanks and appreciation, and you know deep in your heart it is genuine. He took what I tried to teach to heart and has made something of himself with his career relating to electronics. It is funny though, he has a habit or showing up or meeting someone I know out of the blue, and I just cringe at what he is going to say sometimes – remember no muffler. BUT he always walks away from those chance meetings and I know he has once again shown his true feelings about our time as teacher and student, even though I am also sure he has said some pretty raunchy things as well. I love you Danny!
Joey B. One of the most likable and hard working young men I know. He took my electronics classes for three years, struggled at times, but worked harder than any other student I have ever had. When I think of someone I really truly enjoyed having in my classes, is was Joey! I even put his picture on the front page of my teacher of the year application in 2001 – that is how much I think of him. Imagine my surprise when they called in a maintenance man to my dad’s room in the nursing home, and Joey walked in. I hope he noticed the smile on my face. I have also had the chance to get to know his daughter the last few years as her principal, and she definitely did not fall far from the tree – a truly nice and original young lady with a quick smile! Joey, always remember you are one special human being.
Julia B. Wow! I met her the year I began as assistant principal. I noticed her smile right away and again could immediately see the genuineness of her heart. I have never had a student who could see right through me, know when I was having a tough time, and could always do that one special thing, whether it was a kind word, letting a bible verse on my desk, or simply asking me if I was ok. She is a special young lady, now working her way through college and doing well! I got to start working with her dad my last couple of years in my career and can immediately see how her parents and God forged this young lady into the special person that she is. Wow, if I would rate the students that I have worked with in my career – Julia you are at the top for being the most caring and genuine young ladies I have ever known. You care about everyone and you let God lead you in what you do.
These are just three of the students I have had the pleasure of getting to know in my career. There are so many more that I remember and want to reminisce about and will, but you know, when you try to do this, it is hard to do sometimes. We all have these special people we have come to know, maybe this way I can honor them and keep that memory alive. I want all of you who have been my students or athletes over the years to know, I have always said that if I am having a bad day at school, the biggest thing that helps is to get out in the halls and interact with the students. That always brought back my perspective and greatly improved my days – and is why I stayed with it for 37 years. All 2500 plus of you have touched and forged my life in some manner. THANK YOU!