Thoughts of Rory as School Begins

Today is the first day of school for many…

Like previous falls-I too was preparing  myself-readying  to receive new students, new faces who will tackle a school year filled with learning. As  I was cleaning out old contents from my desk,  I came across a book, Three Cups of Tea.  Having already read the book twice over I was ready to toss it in the giveaway pile.  I can’t explain why-but I opened it as though it were the first time I had encountered it.  That’s when I saw it… an endearing inscription from Rory to me!

An avid reader, he had read it and had initially lent me his mom’s copy.  He was so enthralled with the book and its message-we used the book the following year in a division wide project.  Rory, in his generosity had bought me a personal copy from the school’s annual book fair.  Seeing his 5th grade handwriting-I was jolted.  Time and circumstance were suspended and he was right there with me on this first day of school.  I will always happily recall his 5th grade year.  It was a small class-but everyone worked hard, laughed heartily, and dreamed about how they would change the world.  This was especially true about Rory where every conversation turned to politics and policy.  I heard alot of “Why?” that year.  In our 5th grade world- Rory and his classmates believed in the future and trusted that they could indeed change the world. In between grammar and American history the magic of childhood and possibility took hold of all of us.

Holding that book in my hands again-was a bittersweet reminder of how privileged teachers are to have great minds and even better hearts in their presence everyday.  It was also a real reminder as to what has been lost.  That book has been placed lovingly on the bookshelf and will serve as a daily reminder of the awesome responsibility teachers have in nurturing young minds.  It will also bring to mind a certain young man whose determination to better the world could only be matched by his fiery red locks.

So, while students are receiving new supplies for back to school-this teacher so gratefully accepted this gift from a student who made his presence known to his teacher who will never forget him….

Stella Stenos