What the Class of 2014 Taught Me

Working with youth is one of the most rewarding things that I’ve ever been able to do. I think that everyone who teaches knows that the kids often tend to be the teachers and we, the students.

The longer I stay at my current workplace, the more attached I become to the kids because I get to watch them grow up. The middle school Class of 2014 has been special to me because I’ve known many of them since they were little guys in kindergarten. The current high school class gave me memories as they sat in their classrooms as “awkward” middle school students.

Here are a few of the things they’ve taught me:

1. No matter how old you are, your expectations of the opposite gender are initially surface deep and the more you ponder, the more you realize what’s really important. During an activity just a few days before our 8th graders’ graduation, I asked the youth what they expect from the opposite gender during high school. This is what they came up with:


I wasn’t sure if the ladies were serious about coffee and paying for all the dates, but I have to admit that they were on the right track with not wanting to date guys who like them just for their bodies and see them as “hot” rather than beautiful.

The boys, on the other hand, weren’t listening to my instructions and wrote about what they expect in high school:

20140531_103017The “facial hair” made me laugh, but what made me chuckle even more was the fact that adult men were supervising these guys. I guess that goes to show that males from the Class of 2014 aren’t too different from the ones from the Class of 2004.

2. It’s important to recharge your batteries. I was thrilled to attend two of the local high school graduations this year. However, the graduations were back to back and I was disappointed when I realized that my camera battery died on me during the second graduation.

20140606_191431Many of the seniors in this particular photo were involved in several activities, from sports to student council, service to music. I was never sure how they did it while also keeping up their grades and family commitments. That’s when I realized that they also make time to just hang out with their friends and relax. They charged their batteries. Plugging your camera into its charger before big events doesn’t hurt either.

3. Everything looks better in your school colors:

20140607_132220Since I knew so many graduates this year, I was at a loss for what to give them as gifts without breaking the bank. I decided on brownies and truffles in their school colors. They were a hit!

I realized that school spirit is everything in high school if you want to have a good time. Being a part of high school can be tough, but if find something you love about your school (or any community for that matter), it will be so much more enjoyable. I for one will Georgia Bulldog Red and Black ’til the day I die!

4. Parental support means a lot at any age

20140607_172633One of the moms I know hosted an amazing party for her daughter, who is quite the minimalist and probably would have been happy with just a quiet dinner at home. Instead, her mom hosted an open house with some of the most amazing desserts I have ever seen! I was so impressed with how many parents supported their kids throughout their education process. And absolutely nothing could replace the proud looks on their faces as their kids got their diplomas. As we get older, we appreciate our parents more, but if I could tell the 18-year old me something, it would be “Don’t take your mom and dad for granted. They love you. They’re proud of you. They’re always there for you.”

The class of 2014 has a special place in my heart. These are just a few of the lessons that they taught me during the time that I spent with them. I’m certain that they will continue to touch other lives wherever they go in the future, but I hope that somewhere in the back of their minds, they’ve filed away some memories of the lessons I have taught them.

Congratulations grads!

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