Today was a momentous day at Emporia High School. Sure, it was the last day for the seniors…but it was also the last day for someone who has been a part of Emporia High School since 1971.
When I was little, I knew that my mom was a teacher – I “helped” her grade, I helped stamp books for her in the summer, I went to games and cheered for the Spartans – to me the high school was my mom. It was her work and it was where she taught so many students over the last 40 years. I remember the Latin Club parties that were held at my house with all of the cool high school students. I remember students like Mimi – who baby-sat us when my parents would go out. I remember sitting in the bleachers at basketball games cheering on people whose kids I now have as my own students. I knew that when I grew up, I wanted to be just like my mom…
When I became a teacher in my second year I had the opportunity to become a teacher at EHS. It was an unexpected offer and one that I jumped at the moment I heard about it. I got the position at EHS…moving into a classroom two doors down from my mom. At first I thought it might be weird – teaching at my old high school…steps away from my mom, but instead, I found that I was able to have an even deeper connection with her. She was no longer just my mom who taught at the high school. She was my colleague, my mentor, and my friend.
To me, EHS is my mom…she is always there, supporting the athletes, attending theatre performances, going to recognitions for students…she is always there cheering on her students in every way. She has given 110% every day she has been there, and although she’ll still attend games (I’m sure) she has now taught her final class, graded her final paper, and is ready to enjoy full time retirement.
Today, my mom was treated to a special present by her students…a limo ride so she could ride in style on her last day. Obviously it was bittersweet for me. I am so happy for my mom and know that she has been influential in the lives of many, many students, and she deserves to enjoy her retirement. However, for me, there will be an empty spot on the EHS staff now, because (literally and figuratively) NO ONE can ever replace her.