Sunday, May 14, 2017

Honor Flight Homecoming

Pal-Mac Students Make a Difference

Dear Readers,

I had an amazing experience today accompanying two of my colleagues and approximately twenty-six 7th and 8th graders to the Rochester International Airport for an Honor Flight Homecoming.

Words cannot express the emotions and magic of the event. Colleen Sousa, an Individuals and Societies teacher, asked our students to write letters to veterans who would be coming home on this flight. I am in awe of her planning......she had white boards for the students to write their veterans' names and beautiful signs to hold up as they came through.

As I stood there, waiting with the students for these men and women who fought for our country, it really made me step back in my mind for a moment. We can teach academics, but there is absolutely nothing like an authentic, meaningful experience for our young people to be a part of.

A scene that sticks with me was a gentleman being pushed by in a wheelchair with tears in his eyes and carrying a tissue. He was so overcome with emotion that he just kept mouthing, "Thank you. Thank you."

Another moment when one of my students was nervous to hold her sign so a peer did it for her. When her veteran approached, the peer said I did not write the letter, she did, but she's nervous. He put his hand on her shoulder and said, there is nothing to be nervous about. She returned that comment with a big smile and later tears as he walked away.

Seeing our students overcome with emotions as they met their veterans was so extremely powerful. Some people describe teens as immature, selfish, emotional, etc. The reality is they are empathetic and amazing young people who can make incredible differences in all our lives.

I will let the pictures speak for themselves. 

To our students, I am so very proud of you! You made a positive difference in someone else's life. You will never know how much that means to them. I am proud to be your teacher!