Saturday, May 21, 2016

Kim Frencken Column: Graduation

May 22nd will mark the end of a very special journey. May 22nd will be the high school graduation in Joplin, MO. It also marks the 5th anniversary of the tornado that devastated Joplin and took many lives. It rocked our school community by taking those who still had so much ahead of them and those that gave so much to work with our students. Losing buildings was nothing compared to the loss of these precious people. I'm sure there are those that are nervously watching the skies as the dark clouds are rolling in. Watching and remembering.

So many of these youngsters are eager to receive their diplomas and move on down the road. It is hard to remember them as "little middle school kids", but that it what they were. Scared to start middle school. Afraid of being tardy. Anxious about making new friends. And, then there were those that were "too cool for school". They liked to talk back and argue. To push their limits. To test the waters - not to mention my patience! Some were extra special. They wormed their way into your life. They came to visit your classroom every chance they got. They surprised you with coffee in the morning or a homemade treat made in FACs class in the afternoon. They shared funny stories with you. And tears. In many ways, they felt like your own child. And now, you have to let them go.

For me, I will be remembering this group with smiles and tears. So many of these wonderful young people touched my life in a special way. It is a bittersweet moment. Now, it is time for them to move forward. Congratulations on a job well done!

(Kim Frencken taught 20 years in the Joplin R-8 School District. More of her writing can be found on her blog, Chocolate for the Teacher.)

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