Saturday, May 12, 2018

Exeter-Milligan Update; View from the Front Office


            The countdown has begun!  Today I asked a senior girl how many days of school were left and she quickly replied 23. I didn’t bother to check if she was correct, but I figured with the quickness of her answer, it had to be spot on. It was just a year ago I could ask my own daughter how many days were left in the school year.  I thought last year went quick, since my baby was a senior, but I have to admit this year seems to have flown by quicker.  It seems like we were just getting ready for graduation and in just a few short weeks we will no longer have an empty nest as Haylee wraps up her first year of college.
          Speaking of that empty nest, I will admit that I did much better than I thought I would.  At Easter service, I leaned over to Karla and made the comment this was the first Easter we’ve spent alone.  She negated that comment, stating we spent our first two Easters without kids. I gave her the “you know what I mean” look and she just smiled.  This was our first childless Easter in 28 years, but we didn’t celebrate as if we were childless. We had some peeps and jellybeans AND made some small Easter gift bags for some “adopted” kids. Overall, though, I have done well with the empty nest.
          Karla on the other hand… One night as we were sitting in our chairs watching TV, she looks over at me and says, “I miss my kids and my foreigns!” I truly believe Karla missed the personal connection to being involved with the school. When she would attend an activity, that personal connection (the relationship) wasn’t there. I still have the daily contact with kids and get my “kid fix” each and every day (and wouldn’t trade it for anything.) This is not the case for Karla. So, after a little discussion, the Sheffield home will, again, host a foreign exchange student - a boy from Dortmund, Germany.
          We have enjoyed hosting “foreigns” and this will be our 6th one.  Each of our previous foreigns has had a remarkable experience.  Where else can they become a member of such a close knit family - not just our personal one, but the E-M family.  Everyone has embraced each foreign as their own. This experience is not something they can learn in a book or even watch in a movie.  It is all about the relationships that are built, developed, and nurtured. That is the experience we want each of them to have - to know they are loved, embraced, and welcomed as one of our own. 
This is also true as an educator - it is about the relationships we build with our students. These relationships are not something we can quantify. We can’t place a price tag on them - they won’t show up in test scores, average daily attendance, cost per pupil.  However, it’s what brings us all together; it’s what makes the lonely student come back each day; it’s what sustains the hungry second grader; it’s what gives the senior the hope for tomorrow. Nothing nourishes my heart more than the 2nd grader rushing to greet you in the morning with a hug or the 7th grader getting a huge smile when you tell them they did a great job yesterday at the track meet. It is truly all about the relationships.
As we say “so long for now” to our graduating seniors, my wish for each of them is this: I hope they have learned as much from me as I have from them. We have grown together as Timberwolves and it has been an AMAZING transformation as each has matured into such fine young adults! This transformation is not nearly complete, so go the distance. I will wrap this up with two music quotes:

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

“Who says you can’t go back
Been all around the world as a matter of fact
There’s only one place left I want to go
Who says you can’t go home!”

To the  Class of 2018: You will ALWAYS have a home at Exeter-Milligan.
We’ll leave the light on for ya!

No comments: