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An Open Letter to My Former Students

It's that time of the year again: back to school. This time last year I was preparing for my first group of students, and now I am preparing to move across the country to San Francisco and to launch back into my public relations career. I am ecstatic to get back into the PR scene with Edelman in the Bay Area, and I feel very fortunate to have had such wonderful experiences in both PR and education. I especially value the relationships I've built in both careers, whether they are with my superiors in PR or 14-year-old students in education.

I won't be around Hillcrest High School to encourage my former students who are now sophomores, so I wanted to impart some wisdom before I head to the west coast.

An Open Letter to My Former Students

It's been about two-and-a-half months since you've sat in a classroom. Do you remember what a comma splice is? What about anaphora? Do you remember all of those times we talked about thesis statements and how to ensure your body paragraphs support your argument? I'll give you $10 (Actually, no. I'll give you a high five.) if you can name all of the novels we read last year in less than 20 seconds. Hopefully as you begin your sophomore year you don't have to spend the first six weeks trying to remember what you learned as a freshman. Additionally, I hope you remember the lessons that had nothing to do with critical reading, analytical writing, or comma splices. (Refresher: I don't want to go to school next week, I want to keep sleeping. Comma splice = bad.)

I hope you remember the times we laughed so hard it took all of us, including me, a solid two minutes to get ourselves back together. I hope you remember how excited you would get when you won a round of Jeopardy. I hope you remember the end-of-year class selfies we took (and the funny stories that accompanied them. Ahem, fifth period). I hope you remember how offended you all felt when you couldn't come to my wedding. (Are y'all over that yet?) I hope you remember the Socratic seminars we had for To Kill a Mockingbird and how passionate you all felt about the issues in the book that we still face today. Mostly, I hope you remember how you had someone in your corner who was always on your side--someone who believed in you with all of their being. Even though I am no longer at Hillcrest or even in Texas, I am still on your side and know each and every one of you will continue to thrive and be successful in whatever you choose to do. You must believe that, as well.

Don't ever let the odds stop you from going after what you want. Don't let the stress of homework, extracurriculars, and stuff going on outside of the classroom deter you from success. Remember how much you can grow in just one year. (Those time capsules were something else, huh?)

Finally, don't forget that you can email me whenever you need anything at all. I am still here for you all and can't wait to watch what you will continue to do throughout your high school career and beyond.

Oh, and you have one more week to finish The Kite Runner if you haven't done so already. :)

I'll miss receiving flowers from my students.

I'll miss students using my classroom for Homecoming proposals.

I'll miss working with my students to bring smiles to kids' faces who have to spend the holidays in a hospital.

I'll miss taking selfies with my students at the end of the year--and failing miserably. #cantwinthemall

I'll miss adding books to my classroom library.

I'll miss celebrating college acceptance letters.

I'll miss teaching some of my favorite novels.

I'll miss the memories we made in Room 160.


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