I think I must have been trying not to think about the seniors at our school. I am tired of feeling sad and tired of crying. It amazes me sometimes that I have any tears left.
But yesterday their kindergarten teacher posted 65 pictures of them on Facebook. I looked, and there went my composure.
Some of these kids I have known since Pre-Kindergarten. Many of them I taught in eighth grade. Their eighth grade year was my first teaching middle school. I didn't know what I was doing very well, but they were a fantastic class. Exhausting, yes; full of energy, yes; but so creative. They asked me to speak at their Eighth Grade Promotion. Few things in my life have made me feel as honored as that invitation. I talked about about how each of them was a poem written by God, each unique, each beautiful. I talked about their writing, and how each of them had made me laugh or cry or both. I told them that the world was full of beauty, but that sometimes you had to look for it.
Since then, I have taught some of them again, for French, or ESL, or Speech. I have spent time with some of them in NHS. I've seen the way they have responded kindly to middle schoolers as they have worked in Student Council. I've read through college application essays and offered some suggestions. I've seen all of them around the campus daily, and enjoyed watching them grow into adults.
Now the class is scattered; ten of them will be graduating in Haiti. They have seen tragedy and devastation and they have responded in a way that makes me proud and breaks my heart. Those who had to leave make me proud too, and my heart breaks for them that they will not be able to share this moment with their class.
They are going to graduate on Saturday, and I won't be there. If I were there, I would cry while looking at their slide show, and while hearing the speeches, and while watching them go back down the aisle into their future. Graduation is a time for tears, as well as for joy, every year. But this year's class is special. This year's class has already seen a lifetime's worth of sorrow. They have seen their country destroyed in a moment. Yet they are strong, and brave, and beautiful. I love them, grieve for them and pray for them. I am also filled with hope because of them. The world will see great things from these kids. They will go out and show everyone what Haitians, and expat lovers of Haiti, are made of.
5 hours ago