Tuesday, March 15, 2011

High school

For some High School brings up wonderful memories. Maybe yours are memories of sporting events like football games, with the cheerleaders waving their pompoms the excitement of a close game, and the cheering of parents, students, and friends in the stands, or the band blasting out the school song.

Or perhaps yours are memories of swim meets; the smell of chlorine stinging your nostrils, the blare of the starting siren and subsequent splash of the swimmers as they enter the water; or the excitement and disappointments, but mostly the fun and the team spirit.

Maybe your memories are of basketball games with the smell of nachos and popcorn from the concession stand wafting thru the air. The band blaring once again and the mindless screaming and cheering from the stands. The thump, thump of the basketball, and the thrill when it swishes – nothin’ but net.

What about the memories of other activities like homecoming dance, or prom?: The preparations and anticipation; the balloons, streamers and other decorations; you and your date enjoying the enchanted evening, maybe even a first kiss.

What about pep rallies, track and field meets, volley ball, yearbook, math and science quests, drama, debate, choir, band, talents shows, or the school musicals? Good memories…

I know for some there are memories that are not so good. Memories still smart from embarrassing moments, bullying, or teasing. Going out for a sport or the school musical and getting cut. Ex-boyfriends or girlfriends – those early relationships that can tear your young heart out.

What is it about high school that can have such a lasting effect on our personalities, self worth, and future lives?

Maybe it’s because we are beginning to discover our independence and our “true” selves. Maybe it’s because we have so many opportunities to develop our talents and discover our likes and dislikes, abilities and inabilities, our strengths and weaknesses. Maybe it’s because it is such a transitional time in our lives and we have many opportunities to test our wings in a still relatively safe way while we are still at home and under the watchful eye of our parents. Maybe it’s because we are beginning to make decisions with long-lasting tentacles that intertwine themselves into the fabric of our future lives.

Personally, whatever the reason that high school is so memorable and lasting, the biggest part of it was the teachers who chose such a difficult job as teaching high school - hoping to make a difference, but probably never realizing how much difference in the lives of young people they really made. They are what made high school so formative for me. That is what I really started out to talk about: the lasting effect that high school teachers can have on us.

When I think of the teachers I had in high school I realize that a big part of who I am today is because of what they taught and how they taught it. I remember the life lessons I learned from my high school teachers (and coaches for that matter). Here are just a few I want to mention:

Barbara Sinclair – freshman English. Mrs. Sinclair had a list on her wall and she always said to us that if we learned nothing else in her class, she would be content if we simply learned the lessons on “The List.” Here are the things I remember from “The List”. 1) Yoda’s advice to Luke – “Tend to where you are.” I remember always thinking of this when my concentration would wane or when I was distracted and had to refocus on where I was or what I was supposed to be doing. 2)Act as if…then you will become….” She told us, “If you want to be an ‘A’ student, act like one and you will become one.” She would also say that it works the other way too. The fastest way to be a loser is to act like a loser. 3) Delay gratification. If it’s worth having; it’s worth waiting for. A lot of sadness in this world is rooted in the quest for immediate gratification of our wants, desires or lusts.

Dennis Hall – varsity basketball coach & school counselor. He taught us girls on the basketball team the importance of being ladies in our thoughts, speech and actions. He taught us that when we play basketball, we are representatives of our school and win or lose we should conduct ourselves appropriately. Lastly he taught us that winning is most definitely NOT everything. We can lose a game and hold our heads high if we did our best and represented ourselves and the school well in all we said and did.

Mary Ann Poe – JV basketball coach & Spanish. She taught me that it’s okay to say no to your friends if you know it’s wrong. She taught that the only safe sex is ABSTINANCE!

Madaline Floyd – calculus. Mrs. Floyd taught me to always be prepared (especially for her pop quizzes.)

John Abrams – chemistry & swim team coach. He taught me that laughter and kindness make life sweet.

I don't know where you all are today, but to you my high school teachers - I honor and thank you. Thanks for the memories, and the lessons!

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