Monday, June 29, 2015

Graduation Day Pride

I tell ya, there is one time in the school year of this teacher's life when all of the heartbreaks and joys, the trials and tribulations, triumphs and defeats all become worthwhile. To know that you've made a real difference in a young person's life, that you've helped them achieve their first major accomplishment, is the most gratifying one of my own. Congratulations to Yunus, Kevin, Jeremy, and all of the other graduates, including my awesome nephew Nick, who've made it through high school and who now move on to bigger and better things.

It's a beautiful Monday morning, the first official day of summer vacation for me and I am finally going to delve deep into those lazy feel-good days of summer.  But before I do that, here's a little recap of the first part of the wonderful weekend I had to start my summer...

Graduation Day

Saturday was graduation day at my high school, and I attended the ceremony because I had not one, but two very special young men that were receiving their high school diplomas.  I've had the privilege of working with both Kevin and Yunus for several years now and to have both of them reach this first pinnacle of their lives was too special not to miss.

Kevin, me, Yunus

I first met Kevin when he arrived in the United States from El Salvador in 2003.  He was seven years old and in the second grade.  I worked with him in my class for about three years until early 2007, when I went over to the high school full time.  Kevin was always an inquisitive little thinker, often coming up with profound questions about whatever things we were learning in class.  Though I lost touch with him for a couple of years, he became an on-again, off-again fixture in my classroom, right up until this year, when he would often spend his lunch period in my classroom.  Kevin not only graduated from high school, but also the BOCES automotive repair program.  Man, he's gonna do well, I am sure, and I'm surely going to have a place to take my car for years to come!

Yunus is a young Turkish kid who has been in my class for the past six years.  I first met him in the summer before junior high school when his brother Can introduced the young sixth grader to me.  His genial and joking nature made me like him immediately, and through the years we've been through all sorts of life situations together...he's become almost like a son to me.  I am so proud of him for making it. Though I'm happy for him at the moment, I am sure going to miss him come September.


Kevin, me and Kevin's brother Jonathan, last year's graduate

So that was the first part of my weekend...a sentimental moment of one kind of pride.  Stay tuned as I post about another...

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