08 April 2008

And just like that, they are gone

Another day down and only 32 more to go until summer vacation! In August, it feels like this time of the year will never get here, but before we have time to turn around twice, the year is almost over.

I always get so nostalgic in the spring. The seniors are all talking about graduation and how they can't wait to "get out of here." I see the excitement of facing the next step in their lives, and it makes me think back to 1985 when I was where they are now. Oh, to be able to go back and take things just a little more slowly. They have so much ahead of them, and they can't wait to get started on that phase of their lives. They always talk about how quickly high school has passed, yet they don't seem to realize that the next few years will fly by just as quickly. As adults, we can tell them to slow down and to enjoy each day because before they know it, they'll be faced with bills and babies and all the other adult responsibilities. They don't listen, though. Very few of us did at that age.

This year, graduation will be a little more meaningful to me. I will be watching my "babies" walk across the stage to receive their diplomas. At Benjamin Russell, we have an advisor program. As freshmen, the students are assigned to a teacher who will be with them as an advisor/homeroom teacher for the next four years. Over that period of time, we get pretty close to most of them. The kids that I have are all very special to me, and I can honestly say that I love them each and every one. Some of them I want to knock upside the head every once in a while, but that's just because they are 18 years old. :) I've loaned money, I've been a shoulder to cry on, I've cried, I've celebrated, and I've counseled. And now I'm about to let them go. Some I'll continue to see in town, and some of them I'll never see again. No matter, I'll rejoice over their marriages and babies, and I'll hurt for them over their losses.

Yes, these 18 young men and women will soon be gone--to college, to the military, to work and a family--but they will always be in my heart. And in August, I'll get a new, fresh group of eager freshmen who will turn around twice and they'll be seniors. And just like that, they are gone.

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