Note: My apologies for the original failed posting of Throwback Thursday: A Series of Letters to My First Students – technical or human error, let’s say human error. It’s been a hell of a couple of weeks in good and bad ways. But that’s a discussion for another time.
The mistake, though, seems to have worked out as perfectly as a mistake can, for it sets up the upcoming posts of the coming weeks, which was in fact entirely unplanned.
And yes, I know, it’s not Thursday anymore.
Throughout the summer of 2015, I posted letters I had written to the high school graduating class of Thornton-Donovan seniors, many of whom I had taught when they were in eighth grade. These letters were drafted because I could not attend the graduation (I had to get married – sorry).
Anyway, I will be re-posting the letters in the coming days and weeks, for I believe I did a pretty poor job presenting them initially. Also, these will serve as sort of a preamble for a bigger piece I am currently working on. I’d be remiss if I said I wasn’t trying to sort my thoughts still from a tragedy that occurred to begin the week.
Here is the first one that relates to a student who is now a junior at the University of Pennsylvania. I would rename his post “The Student Who Did Not Proofread”:
Well, at the very least, we can both say that in eighth grade you learned the merits of proofreading your work.
You were always a good student and a respectful, young man. I know most of the trouble you got in, in my class at least, was partially attributed to ____ or ____ or ____ or ____. What struck me about you was your maturity at your age, your calm and gentle demeanor, and your drive (although it sometimes waned when writing longer essays).
Offering you some cliché, prosaic advice about staying out of trouble is not necessarily my style. I think you know all of the temptations and their corresponding pitfalls that await you in college. All I will say is, remember why you’re there first and foremost. Then, once you get the grades, whatever you choose to do in your own free time is gravy (just don’t get arrested).
Also, I realize I do not have to tell you about how important your family is and I know you’re at the age where you’re probably too cool for them, yet once you get to college you’re going to realize exactly how significant they are.
I know you’ll take care of business in this next phase of life. In the process, though, do not lose sight of where you came from and who you are. Keep up your relationships with your professors and, above all else, proofread anything you put your name on.
Only the best for you and your family,