I went to a benefit last night. One of my former students has a 2-year-old with a rare form of cancer. We were all there to support the family and raise money to help them with their various expenses. I’m not sure how many people were there. It was packed. Throughout the night I would venture to guess at least 400. Probably more. But I’m not the best at guessing those things…
As a teacher, I was in this weird position of recognizing so many faces, but trying to put a name to all of them is just too difficult. These two families are solid pillars of the community. There is this network of families that all know each other through their kids’ sports teams and being in school together. Even after high school, these kids are all still very tight. They’re in each others weddings, they went to college together, they stay in touch. I can’t say the same for my high school experience. I only keep up with a few of my classmates.
Most of the former students that I saw last night graduated at least 10 years ago. Many of them are entering their 30s or are already there. A few of them are now teachers. At least one is now a colleague. Another couple of them are coaching my current students in various sports. One of the grandmothers of the 2-year-old was my assistant principal for several years. So to say the least, I had lots of connections to many people there last night. Everywhere I looked there seemed to be a familiar face.
I don’t think I’ve ever been to a social event with former students or their parents. It was so nice to see them! It was really cool to be able to talk with them as adults. Some of them I remembered their names instantly. Several I remembered once I got home! Every once in a while a parent would catch my eye and smile like they knew me. A few parents I can remember well and several have such a strong resemblance to their children that I can figure it out. I truly enjoyed talking with all of them and I wish I would have remembered more names. It was wonderful to see the community support for these families and I’m glad that I could be a part of it.