Tuesday, June 10, 2008


I got to see my kids graduate tonight, and suddenly, all those all-nighters with a grading pen and stack of late essays all become worth it. Truly amazing. I feel like last year in my first year of teaching I'd get all emotional and teared up because I was exhausted and drained and I had nothing left to give. Tonight I was getting all teared up and emotional thinking of what these kids have been through and what they've accomplished. Students who
- tried to drop out three times last year but decided to stick it out
- who had dropped out until one night at her job cleaning office bathrooms realized that she wanted more out of life, and now will study business
- who never knew her father, barely knows her mother and works full time while still making honor roll
- who live in fear of immigration officers but now will pursue careers as nurses, psychologists and social workers
- who have lost family and loved ones to violent crime, but went on
- who just met their parents last year
- who have had babies but continued their education

I could fill books with the stories of my students and what they have overcome to achieve what they did tonight. And these aren't stories they wear on their sleeves, it just happens to be what has been their norm. Standing there with tears in my eyes watching these kids walk across the stage, I just don't know how else you can react to experiencing this kind of evening.

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