Pomp and Circumstance, caps and gowns, smiles all around. . . this was the scene at Fordham Prep yesterday. The 8th grade students of MS 254 were lined up, in all of their glory, to enter the auditorium. My my my were they a fabulous sight! I’ve never seen them look so good, so grown up and for many, so accomplished.
The ceremony was beautiful. I am so proud. They are my kids–they have been for the last 3 years, and they probably will be forever. I’ve learned so much about myself and about life from them, and I know they’ve learned something about life and history from me.
They are all special to me, but there were two graduates– Felix & Julio–that made me more proud than I’ve ever been in my life. We joke they were my sons, and honestly, if I had a 3rd bedroom out here, I’d have them here for school in PA. I spent hours upon hours working with them over the past few years. I’ve seen them grow exponentially. Felix is maturing and progressing academically. I know he’ll be successful as long as he makes the right choices. Julio has amazed me, and is a great example of determination and repentence. He has clearly reformed himself academically, and he will be successful, of that I am sure. I just can’t wait to see him graduate high school and college. And I’m sure he’ll do both. The humbling thing is that I know I had a part in their success.
Far too often my work easily disappears. Homework begets more homework. Cleaning around the house inevitably gets dirty again. There is little sense of accomplishment. But looking at those graduates yesterday I *know* I’ve done something positive for this world. I know I’ve helped them grow and mature, and hopefully they’ve learned something about history along the way.
I shed a tear or two yesterday. I’ve never been more proud of a group of students. I don’t know if or when I will teach in the Bronx again, so this wasn’t just their graduation, but also a graduation for me too.
Special thanks to my darling husband, Nick, and Aubrey for enduring the horrid drive to the city, and for taking such good care of Ava and being artistic in their photographs.