Only One You

Today was the last day I’ll see my fourth hour before their AP Exam on Tuesday.  I adore my fourth hour.  I think it’s my favorite class I’ve ever had (22 girls and 6 boys might have something to do with it… ;)).  I just love every single kid in that class, and my heart aches every time I think about the fact that 25 of those 28 students will not walk the halls of our high school next year…

Yesterday, one of my kids asked if we could have “story time” before the test.  I calmly said, “Of course!” and then frantically Googled “Books like Oh, The Places You’ll Go!”  I came upon a book called Only One You.  I went to Barnes and Noble yesterday and found it visibly displayed in the children’s section, much to my delight.  The book was as good as the online review claimed it would be, so I bought myself a copy.

Only One You is about a fish named Adri who gets advice from his mom and dad before he goes out on his own.  Some of the advice includes, “Always be on the lookout for a new friend;”  “Blend in when you need to, stand out when you have the chance;”  and “If something gets in your way, move around it.”  All this is illustrated with the sweetest pictures.  At the end, Adri’s mom kisses him on top of his head and says, “There’s only one you in this great big world…make it a better place.”

That is my most sincere wish for these seniors:  that they use the lessons they’ve learned to make the world a better place.

As I was reading, I got choked up, but I quickly composed myself, telling myself that the last thing this group of primarily girls need right now is MORE EMOTIONS.  But, as I finished the book and looked around, I noticed many other eyes were wet, too.  Two girls openly wept.  All I knew to do was stand there and hug them and tell them I loved them.

There is beauty in this pain, though.  I feel their tears.  I know their struggles.  But I also know that those tears mean that what we have together in these four walls is something special–something of eternal value…

I know these students really will make this world a better place:  I know I am better because of them.

Because I knew you, I have been changed for good.



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