Friday, July 26, 2019

It's About Time!

Almost five years ago, I told the tale of Alex, who had attended a SEE (Secondary Enrichment Experience) Seminar entitled "The Art of Swiss Watchmaking."  At the time, the idea that high school students would be interested in an entire day watching people make watches seemed pretty unlikely to me, yet Alex, being Alex, jumped at the chance.  He went on to receive a full ride to Franklin and Marshall College, yet the gnawing memory of that day at the Lititz Watch Technicum continued to haunt him.     

Alex walked away from Franklin and Marshall, and into the very selective and rigorous program at the Lititz Technicum, learning the secrets of  fine watchmaking, taught by the experts at Rolex.  Two weeks ago, he sat for what I can only assume was the most rigorous test of perfectionism, proving his steady hand and keen eye, and whatever other skills are key to the success of a watchmaker.  That afternoon, he sent me a message, inviting me to his graduation ceremony.  My response, "I WOULDN'T MISS IT FOR THE WORLD!"

So today, I had the privilege and honor of watching this very wonderful young man start the next phase of his life -- as a Rolex Watchmaker.  In his speech at the graduation ceremony today, Eric Grippo, the Manager of Rolex World Service, GENEVA, spoke about the passion of the seven graduates of the program.  I've known Alex since third grade, and he's been passionate about many things.  Mr. Grippo suggested that his father's goal for him had been that he find a career where he was so passionate about what he did that he would never feel like he was working a day in his life.  He enthusiastically welcomed Alex, and his classmates by saying "Welcome, to the first day of not working, beginning tomorrow!" 
Alex, and his gorgeous Betsy.

The best part about this day was seeing the genuine love of life this young man has.  His family travelled from far and wide to be in attendance, and every single one of us was hugged, and kissed, and appreciated by the reason we were all there.

So yes, there's never enough time in teaching -- or many careers for that matter.  For Alex, the rest of his career is all about time.  

And it is days like today that make me so very grateful that I have a career that, despite a 20 year pin on my lapel, is actually one that has me feeling like I haven't worked a single day.  Mr. Grippo's speech solidified the very thought in my heart that I feel every time someone stops me and asks me "How many more years do YOU have?", implying retirement is overdue for me.  Somehow I've blinked, and five years have passed.

Oh, and reminiscent of Alex's first day at the Technicum five years ago, he's sporting a new watch on his wrist.  (No word on whether it glows in the dark, although I suspect it does!)  

Clearly, those dimples are evidence of his passion, pride, and complete joy that comes with this achievement.

My prayer is that all of my students can find their dimples -- whether or not a Rolex is part of the package.  Because the joy of watching this kind of happily ever after is reinforcing the heart of this not-ready-to-retire teacher.

Thanks, Alex, for the invitation, and for reminding me what I've known all along.  Magical things happen when gifted kids discover their passions.