Monday night was graduation. I gathered with my group of 19 advisory seniors, students who I have seen nearly every school day since their first day as freshman, shared with them congratulations and tears, and watched them walk across the stage, reach out for their diploma. My 19 rowdy and resilient advisory students.
Daniel Pink, Charles Duhigg, Brene Brown, K.M. Walton, and Tiffany Schmidt helped me pull off quite a surprise by signing copies of their books for my students. And I also was able to give them something back. The first day of their freshman year, I had my students write a letter to themselves, telling them that I would give it back to them when they graduated. A few of them had forgotten about the letter. Reading that letter helped bring to a close their high school experience by remembering where it all began.
On Monday night as I sat with them listening to the evening's graduation speakers, I was reminded of where my experiences as a teacher began. It began with them. Their first day of kindergarten, September 3, 2002, was also my first day as a teacher. It seems fitting that I am moving on along with them. This will be my last graduation with this district as I prepare for my summer move back to my home state of Michigan. My last graduation, last speeches, last final exams. These past few days have been quickly bringing my first teaching position to a close. And just like it was for my graduating seniors, it is an emotional time. We are both taking time to look behind us, look at how far we've come, as well as to look ahead, both anxious and excited.