One thing that I absolutely love about my job is watching children grow into responsible, mature young adults. There are few things more satisfying to me than watching a young person set a goal and work like crazy to reach the goal. In our non-traditional classroom setting, a large percentage of the students are focused and responsible. They learn from a young age that their success is not dependant upon the teacher or others in the classroom. They use their ability to read and discover information that is presented to them in a written format, and the sky really becomes the limit. They become confident and eager to meet challenges that are placed before them. They are held back by no one.
We have three seniors this year, and two of them are PCS thoroughbreds. These two completed their coursework just before spring break, and have around 28 high school credits each, plus a nice stack of college credits through classes they were able to take at Rhodes State College this year. They did this while helping to put together a spectacular yearbook (it's here and it's cool!), and raise funds for and compete in student convention. I am so proud of them! I think that they would say they surprised themselves in what they were able to accomplish this year. Each of them stretched themselves, and did things that a year ago may not have seemed possible.
Jennifer and I go back a ways...I began to babysit her when she was less than a week old (if my memory serves correctly) and since I wasn't really a "baby" person that was new for me...we developed a real bond during those years, she was the miniature bride at my wedding (sorry about all the bobby pins, Jenn. I know you were scarred for life, but your hair rocked!), and then we were able to spend many days together during her years in school! She is not a quitter. I watched her when there were things that she really didn't have to do, and didn't really enjoy doing, and she stuck with those things. I would say those experiences will serve her well in the future. Congratulations, Jennifer!
I began teaching at the school when Sharree was just four years old. Her mommy was a teacher, so she was one of the little staff kids that really deserves a lifetime service award. :) Although I didn't have her in my class until the seventh grade, or so, I knew her to be a thorough student, who always wanted to do nothing less than her best. Through the years that we have had a closer relationship, Sharree has blossomed in many ways, and she is graduating a year early (even with all the crazy extra stuff she has done!). Like Jennifer, she has not opted for the easy way out, and has given herself to help with many extras. Congratulations, Sharree!
Although we are going to miss the every day presence of these girls in our classroom, we are excited to send them out to be a blessing to others. Our prayer is that they remain spriritually grounded and never lose sight of their goals!