By Michelle Dennison
It happens every year when one works at a school. The time comes for the most senior grade to leave, and spread their wings to the next venue on their life journey.
In my school, it is the Grade Sevens, the thirteen year olds who are leaving.
It is always a bitter-sweet time for me. I’m going to miss a lot of them, but it is encouraging to see how they have grown into young men and women.
The group of Grade 5 girls who used to mischievously swap name badges so I couldn’t tell them apart, are now mature prefects.
It is probably the last time I will see most of them, and there are many that I have come to know over the last few years.
The girls arrive with their autograph books, and it would be easy to scribble the same thing in each one. “All the best for the future. Enjoy High School.”
But I want to do more than that. I want to give them some words that might inspire them, guide them and encourage them if ever they read that book again.
I have a paragraph from my Grade 5 teacher in my autograph book. She told me to carry on writing stories, and that she was looking forward to seeing my name in print. She didn’t live long enough to see that happen, but her words live on to keep me motivated.
And the boys don’t do the autograph thing, but say goodbye with handshakes or hugs. I have only a few seconds to say something meaningful to them.
There are the boys who spent hours talking about books with me. The mischief makers who gave me a lot of grey hairs and laughter. The boy who asked me to find him a love poem because there was this girl that he liked.
I would like to tell them something that will maybe stay with them as they become adults.
And as all of us leave 2013 and head towards 2014, we can reflect on the year that has passed, and decide how we are going to respond to the new year with its challenges and opportunities.