Last night, I got to see an awesome group of former students be inducted into the National Honor Society by another awesome group of former students. I’ve not seen many of these students since they stepped out of my classroom, three and four years ago. As I move further away from having my own kids in the district, I feel more and more disconnected (and feel less welcome) at the high school. It’s entirely me, but it’s the way that I feel.

However, last night, I felt really good about being there because a former student recognized me as have a major impact in her life. It was humbling to hear her speech, knowing that my actions, attitude, and words all played a tiny role in the amazing young woman she’s become. I also noticed that there were many former players on the stage, a shout out to those students, being able to participate in athletics AND have high academic standards. I’ve had the opportunity to teach and coach some amazing girls. Showing up to watch the ceremony just reinforces that fact.

As a 1988 inductee into the National Honor Society, it was interesting to watch, not as a parent (my oldest daughter is also a member), but as a community member. The pride with which the students spoke about those people who’d influenced their lives was inspiring to say the least. Sometimes, I wish we as a staff could see a presentation like this, just to know that there are those pockets of students who do see the value in their education and who celebrate it!

The whole point of this was the pledge, which we recited together at the end of ceremony. I won’t print the whole thing, but there’s one section that struck me, that made an impact to the point I’m going to print it and post it in my room:

And I will maintain and encourage

High standards of Character, Scholarship,

Leadership, and Service.

I will strive in every way,

By word and deed,

To make its ideals

The ideals of my school

And of my life.

My basketball team (Woot! First reference of the 2019 season) has been acting up, so I read this to them tonight and told them THEY are the leaders of their team and class. They need to rise above the petty drama and BE the leaders.

Imagine if ALL our students were able to hold themselves to these ideals, them the ideals of both their school and their lives? What kind of a school would we have? Heck, what kind of a world would we have?


It was nice to reconnect with this former student, to see her a little more grown up, a lot more confident, able to lead her team and her class by action. It was nice to see the smiles of other students, the “Hey Mr. J, how’s it going,” or just simply a nod of recognition. As I wrote last week, self-doubt has been creeping in. I’m an average teacher on a good day, but kids are different today. Do I have what it takes?

Based on a short 3 minute speech, yes, yes I do.

Thank you, AR, for your words. They mean the world! 🙂