I’ve worked with some amazing kids over the years…and “amazing” isn’t a word I use lightly. I have so many fond memories of my students who ranged from 12 to 18 years old; some struggled, others were brilliant. All were gifted in their own ways and, to my way of thinking, yes; each was well above average.
Some of my memorable years as a teacher were those I spent as advisor for the Coon Rapids H.S. Cardinal Chronicle. This small staff of sophomores, juniors, and seniors achieved remarkable things despite insufficient time and an abysmally low budget. Smart, clever, funny…those kids always left me smiling and every so often, guffawing.
Like the time I opened a Christmas gift. “This won’t be the usual cologne or note paper,” I was warned. Nope. Not from this gang. After a few days of “be careful with that, Ms. W.” and “don’t drop it,” I finally opened the mysterious box. A Chia Pet! Yep, guffaws.
Then there was the time I learned that they paid more attention to me than I thought they did. I often greeted them with absurd questions. One of my favorites: “You wouldn’t happen to have a hot fudge sundae on you, would you?” The first few times got smiles. Then came the knowing looks: “She’s off her rocker again.” Finally the rolled eyes. But I enjoyed the joke until it died of overuse. But on the last day of school they presented me with a hot fudge sundae from the local Dairy Queen. (Never did fine out how they pulled that one off. It wasn’t melted. At least not very much.)
A year after one of my editors-in-chief graduated, her mom stopped at my table during December parent-teacher conferences.
“Katie has finals tomorrow,” she said, “but she wanted me to bring this to you.”
Mooses! Nothing could capture the spirit of my newspaper staff like a trio of bouncing holiday mooses.
Now, every year when it’s tree decorating time, these little guys beg for–and get–pride of place on the tree.
And sharing that branch are Katie and all the other Chronicle staff members with whom I was fortunate enough to work during those wonderful years.
(I still miss you guys.)