Earlier this week, Mrs. Eagle and I engaged in one of our favorite rituals signifying the ending of one school year and the beginning of summer.
We went to the local High School and saw a lot of our former students graduate.
Both of us had actually received graduation announcements from former students which just blows my mind. Kids often remember the teachers that made a difference in high school, but there aren't many that reflect way back on their past and recall a middle school teacher. Especially seventh grade teachers...I think seventh grade is such a rough year for most kids that then tend to blank it out (I did). But we got those invitations and that was even more motivation to go see our kids graduate.
Several things really stood out for me.
One, I was amazed (and relieved) that some of the kids I had who just really struggled during seventh grade were graduating from high school with honors. It goes to show that often times a kid can pull it together after falling completely apart in seventh grade.
Second, the best part of the ceremony had to be when one of the graduates, who had been in a severe accident a few years ago, nearly died, and who has undergone a lot of rehabilitation, received his diploma. One of his teachers wheeled him up in his wheelchair, and then he pushed himself up, stood, took two steps, and received his diploma. That young man got a standing ovation from everyone in that auditorium and he deserved it. He's undergone a lot in his young life, but he's managed to do something many kids don't even try to do - he graduated.
Third, and this is the old lady witch coming out in me, I wish people understood the dignity of a graduation ceremony and dressed the part. I swear I saw more inappropriate clothing on parents (sagging pants, boobs falling out of tops, short shorts, you name it) than I see at one of my rare trips to the mall. Come on people, your kid is graduating, so stop looking like a hooker for once and act like a parent! (Mrs. Eagle and I spent a lot of our time rolling our eyes at each other as some of these fashion disasters paraded by.)
But on the whole, it was a wonderful experience to see these kids make it to graduation. They were a nice group of kids when I had them all those years ago, and I wish them the best in their future.
And it's just kinda neat that I may have had a small role to play in their success.