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Knock Your Chest and be Proud

April 27, 2012
Festus, Garrison, Emmanuel, Emeka

Some of my proud 12th graders. From left Festus, Garrison, Emmanuel, and Emeka. I call them my “Sunday Boys.”

Today has been alright.  I went down the road to the Administration Building at 10:00 to see the awarding of the BHP Billiton scholarships.  All my top 11th and 12th graders were being honored and I wanted to support them.  There were probably a hundred students from around the city, but I was one of eight community members, the only teacher besides Mr. Demy.

The students were thrilled.  Festus and Romeo beamed as I walked in and a dozen other kids waved.  I took a seat in the back and watched Avery, my neighbors who works for the County Education Office, give them a pep talk about education and life.  “Knock your chest and be proud,” he said, “because this is your day.  You are the light and your friends from the village will follow.”  I hoped they were taking it to heart.  They were called up in rows and each received a large framed certificate and a check for $70US.

This was a big deal.

The girls wore lapa suits and the boys put on the best of what they had.  As Emeka and Garrison approached the front of the line they turned and waved to me.  I shot them a big thumbs-up and their smiles brought tears to my eyes.  They brought their certificates directly to me for approval and I clapped and took their pictures.  They have both worked so hard and Emeka, Emeka was just in a motorbike accident three days ago.

I was grateful for them and their smiles.  And looking around at the empty room I was acutely aware of how grateful they were for me.  Many of them are the first in their family to go to school at all, let alone to graduate and win a scholarship.  But they have done it by and for themselves.  Again I fought back tears.  I was so proud of them, so grateful to stand by their side for part of the journey.  I hoped they knew someone was watching, someone cared, and someone was willing to help.

At 1:00 I gave part one of my mock WAEC.  I’m getting ready to grade it now.  It feels like judgment day for all of us!

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. christina penn permalink
    May 22, 2012 1:15 pm

    congratulations to all your students! you have truly helped guide their future!

  2. May 22, 2012 11:57 pm

    Yay! Congratulations to your students, and congrats to you! Having your students succeed is one of the best feelings in the world. 🙂 You’re doing a great job.

    • May 23, 2012 12:32 am

      Thanks, Em! Sure you can’t swing by the west while you’re on my continent??

      • May 23, 2012 1:12 am

        I’ll check with Sean and see what our plans are. But regardless, we’ll be on the same continent! I’ll be sending you happy vibes from the east coast. 🙂

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