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Losses and Gains

on June 12th, 2010 by mark

I’ve been following Abby Sunderland’s story and if you haven’t, it’s compelling. I was one of those at first who said, “who would let their 16 year old daughter sail around…blah blah blah…” Well, I’ve read her posts, watched her story and am now convinced that she was prepared to take on the challenge. She could have been a 45 year old experience sailor and it wouldn’t have changed what happened to her. If you are still one of those who believe she shouldn’t have gone, then you don’t believe in liberty nearly as much as you thought you did. I’ve taught for 19 years. There are indeed 16 year olds that are up to the task. Some aren’t, of course. But some are–and Abby is, I think.

I wrote a post for John Frost at the Disney Blog. I’ve had a few comments, some disagree with me. I’m fine with that. I’m the world’s biggest Disneyland fan–well, OK, hyperbole aside, I’m a big fan. Grad-nite has taken on a misshapen quality and that is the point I was making. Those who disagreed with me didn’t really make a good case as to why. But, that’s what I love about opinions–everyone has one.

School is out, graduation was yesteday–it was, as they all are, bittersweet. This one was perhaps more so. I had a great group of seniors this year and I will miss them all. I suppose I owe them a post here, even though very few of them read it. I’m just so beyond emotionally given out that I cannot go that deep into it.

Allow me to simply explain this anecdote: Tuesday of last week was the seniors’ last day of class. They had grad rehearsal and such the following two days. As class was ending, my Shakespeare kids were winding up, having handed in their final projects (the sonnets!) and were just talking to one another. I walked toward my front door with my back toward them and then I heard a shuffle. One student said, “Oh Captain, my Captain…” and I turned around. All 34 kids were standing on their desks looking at me. I was so touched, I couldn’t believe it. It will remain one of the most poignant memories I’ll ever have of teaching. As they left that day, I hugged every single one of them.

I need a few days of downtime. I need to leave a few things at the door. I’m tense, tired and worn out. But I’m also grateful, honored and moved by the very fact that I had the privilege of teaching these kids this year. I couldn’t have asked for a better group. And all I can ask for now, is time to remember them, thank them and carry on.

Onward.

Posted in Culture, Work/writing life

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