In my previous career I was an elementary level teacher. I taught second, third, and fourth grades over a ten-year period. I left that career to build PeKu Publications. Although it has been seven years since my last class, June always makes me think about end of the school year. I don’t miss being in the classroom, but I do have many fond memories of this time of year. Witnessing the amazing amount of growth in your students and the strong community you have built is always pleasing.
In this role, I don’t have the same feelings in June. However, yesterday as I was cleaning a corner of our basement, I went through some of my teaching bins. I found things that could be discarded, such as outdated science texts. I also found things that made me smile: class pictures, plan books from all of my teaching years, cherished read aloud books.
As I was looking at the pictures, I found group shots from the class that currently is graduating from high school. You see, there’s another piece to my previous career. I taught in the town in which I live, which means that I still have some level of connection. With a recent high school graduate and a current high school junior, I attend many school events and see my former students. So, although I no longer teach, I still have the advantage of watching many of them grow up.
These same students are also connected, as PeKu provides a scholarship to one graduating senior. Being a former teacher and the head of a publishing company, they have to submit an essay. My editors (who aren’t locally based) review and score the essays to determine the winner.
This Wednesday I will attend Senior Night at my local high school. I have been asked to be the speaker at the NH Scholars ceremony and then will present my scholarship during Senior Awards. I am truly honored to be part of these events. I feel privileged to speak to this group of top students. I am proud of PeKu being successful enough to give back; while the scholarship isn’t large, it is great to know that PeKu is helping kids from my local community.
I’m sure when I stand in front of the seniors of Wednesday, I’ll have a little of that old, end of the school year feeling. I’ll be proud of who these students have become and where they are headed next.