Today is my favorite (and also least favorite) day of the year. My calc kids presented their Serve+Create Projects (directions: serve someone and create something). As usual, they did not disappoint. In turn, I read Oh, the Places You’ll Go! You’ll be proud and impressed that I managed to mostly hold it together post-first hour.
I love ending the year with this show-and-tell kind of day. I love seeing how creative my students are via mediums of which I am often oblivious. I love the unique ways in which they serve. I love that when they present, their peers are always so supportive and genuinely impressed with their classmates’ talents.
On the flip side, seeing so much good from one group in just one day reminds me how unique each year is…and how saying goodbye means forfeiting a little piece of myself. A year of your life; a year of your career…gone. It’s the best and worst part of this job: sending students out as our representatives, knowing that they are going to make a positive impact on our community, and yet knowing that for most of these students, our role will–at best–diminish.
In celebration of this year, here are just a few things my students did to serve others:
- Donated clothing
- Cooked meals
- Bought food for the homeless
- Volunteered at nursing homes
- Volunteered at the humane society
- Wrote notes of encouragement and gratitude
- Payed for the next car’s meal at a drive thru
- Donated hair for children with cancer and alopecia
- Taught the class how to properly throw a baseball 🙂
- Helped neighbors with lawn care
- Helped teachers around the school
- Cleaned debris on Devil’s Den
- Made goodie bags for teachers
- Gave rides to friends
- Made care packages for friends going to college and traveling overseas
- Made a signed helmet for a coach
And many, many more.
And here is just a taste of the create part. There were many other wonderful ones that don’t lend themselves all that well to photos, such as writing code to encrypt a message by changing pixels on an image; a thank you video; and cookies and cake balls and more cookies!
I’ve said it before; I’ll say it again. For those who claim the world is getting worse, I beg to differ. I wholeheartedly believe the world is being restored and renewed. And I believe that we play a vital role in relieving the current suffering. The reason I assign this project as my kids’ last assignment is that I want them to practice service and art because they can go hand-in-hand in that process of restoration.
I am so sad to see another group come and go…
And still I know: our influence is expanding; they are taking the good with them.
Goodbye, to my wonderful calculus class of 2018. Thank you for your tenacity, your kindness, your encouragement, and your generosity. Thank you for sticking with me through a tumultuous year in Oklahoma public education. Thank you for greeting me with a smile every day. Thank you for making me laugh, for being my one good thing.
I am so grateful to have shared Room 2704 with you. Its door will always be open to you.
Because I knew you, I have been changed for good.