I just got back from my youngest daughter's Senior Award Night for high school. It is a program where many, many scholarships are given from local business entities. It is also a time to find out who did well on their AP exams, and a time to to see the large numbers of students who were National Merit scholars. Finally, the graduation awards for cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude were announced, as well.
The amount of talented youth on the stage was staggering. Some of them were talented students, some had given many hours of service to people less fortunate than themselves, some were talented student-athletes, and some had displayed many leadership qualities.
I was a proud parent as I watched my daughter on that stage. She had worked hard to earn the honor to be there.
I was also proud as a teacher. Seven of my former students were on that stage. Five of those seven earned major local scholarships for a variety of reasons - film-making, sports, academics, leadership, desire to be a future teacher.
It made me realize that what we do each day as teachers is so important. All of the students on that stage were there because of strong family support, but also because each year, a teacher (or teachers) made a difference in their lives that contributed to the person they are now. How fortunate I feel to have a job that is so important.