Dear Graduate: An Open Letter from a High School Teacher

I wrote this a year ago, but it is as true today as it was then. Updated with new cell phone photos from the 2014 commencement…

Dear Graduate,

Last night was your commencement.  Although you have no reason to know this, graduation is also an emotional night for me, your teacher.  I’ve watched you grow up from squirrelly teenagers into confident high school graduates.  

I got to know you in advisory, in class, in clubs, and in the hall. You dropped off essays and composition notebooks of poems for me to read. You ate lunch in my room, taught me new games, and introduced me to a wide array of music. You borrowed books, pens, basketballs, and Frisbees. 

I comforted you when you were sad. I celebrated with you on perfect scores on math tests, speeches well done and your college acceptance letters. I quizzed you in Spanish, Latin, Biology, and any other subject you made flash cards for. 

What you might not know, is you have given just as much to me. You  made me laugh when I was sad. You celebrated with me on successful service projects, presentations and events. You quizzed me in patience, perseverance and many other values that come up during the high school years.

I attended your games and concerts and always left impressed. I read your essays and their revisions and those revisions. Your honesty, disclosure, and voice inspired me, made me laugh out loud, and on more than one occasion, made me cry.

For some of you, I know it was a struggle to make it to this graduation. Last night was a great accomplishment for all of you, but for some there was more glory in it, because there was more to overcome to get here. And when I saw you in your cap and gown and glowing smile, my heart spilled over with pride.

For some of you, you are on the precipice of your first huge accomplishment, the one with the glory that comes from struggle. And when I saw you in your cap and gown and glowing smile, my heart spilled over with hope.

To all of you, I wish you the best. I hope that all of the lessons you gained, both in and out of the classroom serve you well. As in school, my expectations of you remain high, but I know you will continue to meet them. Thank you for making me proud. 

Congratulations and best of luck on your next great adventure!
Ms. Weaver


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