Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Celebrating, even when you don't fully understand why....

Bryce will be a phenomenal Special Education teacher!
You know it is spring in my room when the annual posting of the "WHERE ARE THEY GOING?" sign is posted.  A number of my seniors have already made commitments to colleges, and it was getting difficult to remember who I'd asked and who I hadn't asked.  As I always strive to make them think I know what I am doing, creating a visual reminder of what I already know to be true seems like a good idea.

So today, the first of the seniors took the gold sharpie and declared their short-term future on the "official" document.  I've known some of these seniors for TWELVE years, and it seems like I've blinked, and they've become adults.  

Some of them know exactly where they are going, some are praying hard that they are going where they want to go, and others are waiting for all of the offers to roll in before zeroing in on the final destination.  

For a TOG (Teacher of the Gifted) it's sort of like waiting for multiple babies to be delivered.

Celebrating, without fully understanding.

Don't get me wrong.  I am proud of my students on a continual basis.  They are incredible people with incredible stories, and incredible potential.  Not all of them believe that, and sometimes it helps to tell a story or two, from previous years' classes.
Case in point:  Elijah.  A brilliant kid, who dual enrolled in a Physics class at Franklin and Marshall during his senior year in high school.  The kid literally spent the after-school hours learning the necessary Calculus for the Physics lab he would be doing in college the following day.  He headed off to Drexel, and, well, completed a couple of quarters and dropped out.    Don't get me wrong, this is NOT one of those stories about a kid who is now living in his parents' basement, unable to face reality.  Instead, he's designing reality as the CTO of his own company.  The Huffington Post just featured Elijah today on their blog of up and coming entrepreneurs.    

Jenna "officially" declares Bridgewater.
Case in point:  Jenna.  The most compassionate, peace-loving, emotional kid you'd ever want to meet.  Watching others succeed actually brings Jenna to tears, with pride for her friends.  After working on a blogging as her TDO in Themes in Literature, she was invited to be a Guest Blogger on the Church of the Brethren national website.  As far as I know, she's the only high school student in the world writing and posting to this site, as an invited writer.   Oh, and she got a letter from former President Jimmy Carter this year.

Case in point:  Laura.  Sure, I'd finished this entire blog, feeling very proud of my present and former student.  And then Penn State went and honored Donegal alumnus, Laura Gebhart.   A dynamo on the field hockey field, she's always been one of the most personable, smiling, and genuine people I've ever had the pleasure to work with in my classroom.  I truly expect to be cheering her on in the Olympics sometime very soon!

These are three examples of three students' accomplishments that appeared in my news feed today.  Please take the time to explore their inner workings by reading the hyperlinks.  While I will never fully understand how Elijah's mind works, I love seeing his name appear on my phone, because he is always calling with amazing stories from a world that I can barely comprehend.  I marvel at all that Laura does, both as a student at Penn State and as a US Field Hockey Team member.

And I can't wait to see where life takes Jenna, and the rest of my seniors, as they follow the paths stretching before them.