My 50 + 1 year class reunion was this past weekend. The Class of 1970 had to wait an additional year to get together because of COVID. My class was the second year of the merger of two schools - Har-Brack and Tarentum - two small districts that combined to make one larger and more economical district called Highlands School District. My class was the first one in the brand new high school, and we seemed to understand the expectations put upon our shoulders, as the kids from Tarentum and Har-Brack worked together in athletics, academics, dramatics, and community improvement. The students in my class became very close, and 51 years later, those deep feelings of friendship and common purpose remain.
I loved school. If you ask most teachers why they became teachers, the answer will be that they loved school, or they were good at school. Just as I enjoyed school, many of my former classmates also became teachers. many followed in their parents footsteps, working at the nearby Allegheny Ludlum Steel plant, which is now Allegheny Technologies. Some moved thousands of miles away, but many stayed in the Alle-Kiski Valley where we grew up.
My class had 653 students, of which 104 are deceased. We are, after all, 69-69 years old. Although we had a decent turnout, I wish that more of my old friends would have shown up for this once in a lifetime milestone. It was wonderful to catch up and reminisce with my old school chums, several of whom I have not seen for a true 50 years. Certain individuals show up for every event - I am one of them - but others just do not want to be bothered, it seems. Thinking about this makes me wonder makes me wonder :
Did they not have a positive school experience?
Are they lacking self-confidence?
Did they gain or lose a lot of weight?
Are they ill and don't want anyone to know?
Do they not like their classmates?
Did they not achieve what they hoped to achieve?
Whatever their reasons, I still wish they would have attended. Especially in these times of COVID, it was so wonderful to get together with old friends. Memories of school and the teenage years have flooded my memory for days since the Friday night ice breaker and the Saturday night reunion, and for those memories, I am so grateful.
My class will be having another big party next year - The Class of 1970 will be turning 70! With our group, that is a good reason to get together.
I strongly recommend that you attend your next class reunion. For me, it was fun to remember simpler times. In fact, it is 5 days since the reunion, and I am still thinking about it, which is why it is the topic of my post this week!
Visit Dede's web page for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required reading. Signed copies are available www.dederittman.com Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics.
I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books. Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self. However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37
Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book. I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading. Please email me at email@example.com The website www.gradygetsglasses.com now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!
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