Current/Recent Reading List

23 August 2006

Mid-Week Inspiration

A highlight of my four years in teaching came last year when the kid I nominated for Most Inspirational Senior won that honor, and I was asked (without his knowledge) to write a brief message for the principal to read on senior awards night. This is all very true, believe it or not, though without mention of the fact that he never had a relationship with his father, who is in prison:

We all know this young man as a good student, who has a lovable and outgoing personality, and a courteous demeanor. What many do not know is that he lost his mother to cancer at a young age, and had to move from New York to new surroundings in North Carolina. Such a circumstance has derailed many kids before their lives had a chance to get going, but he has instead remained a focused and determined person who sees hope for himself. Versatile in the classroom and in athletics, we’ve seen him everywhere this year from the football field to the Shakespearean stage. On top of this, he can often be seen frequenting the nursing home to visit the elderly, including his great-grandmother. He will be attending college next year on a scholarship, and his achievements are a testament both to him and to the wonderful job his grandmother has done in raising him. Now, on the cusp of manhood, he has not only maintained his fine record in high school, but also has returned her love by being his grandmother’s caretaker.

The principal read that in the most moving manner I could imagine, and this student (I'll call him Bryson) was really thrilled. Many of his classmates did not even know his background until that night.

Sadly, his grandmother, who started raising him when he was 11, passed away last Thursday, a victim of cancer. This is the same disease that took Bryson's mom at such a young age. Having chosen to join the National Guard and attend basic training this summer, he wasn't home when his grandmother died, but made it for the funeral. I called him and spoke with his aunt, and yesterday he stopped by school before heading back to finish his training. He is apparently flourishing, and, in spite of his grief, clearly is excited about what he is accomplishing, and what kind of discipline he is acquiring. His college plans changed a little, but he will be attending a public university via an ROTC program in the spring.

Godspeed, Bryson - and God bless your grandma.

No comments: