Friday, May 30, 2014

The Class of 2014 (A Return to Brevig)

There wasn't time to take photos. I was too busy spending time in good company and enjoying my former home. The graduating class asked me to be their speaker this year. There was no question in my mind, I would be there.

I had all the usual Bush adventures. The Saturday afternoon flight was cancelled due to weather and I had to ask someone in Nome to take me in at the last minute. There was rain and mud and cardboard boxes for luggage but, as I told C.O., it was just like riding a bike.

Sunday morning my plane landed just before the fog was once again too thick and low for flying.
I got the warm welcome that Brevig is known for as I walked around town saying hi to everyone. I'm pretty sure I have never gotten as many hugs in the span of two days as I did during my visit. It was a bit surreal to be back in Brevig. It felt like I had never left. I saw our old house near the ocean and it seemed as though I could just walk in and be home.

In my third year of teaching, the group of students you see in the picture above walked into my classroom. They were some of my favorite students. They were a blast to teach and worked very hard at school. I knew all those years ago that these kids had a bright future. I felt honored to be a part of their special day. The kids all did a wonderful job with their speeches and their slide show was beautiful making an all around enjoyable ceremony.

The graduation speech I gave was about 13 minutes long. I don't suppose very many people will ever watch it but for my sake I'm thankful to have it preserved. I've watched it a couple times since returning and it makes me cry every time. The two most important points I wanted to get across was how much these young people have going for them and what a big difference they made in my life. It's common to hear about teachers who make a difference in students' lives but in this case, it was these students who made me love teaching.

I am forever grateful to Brevig Mission and this class for shaping who I am today. It was good to be "home" for a little while.

Brevig Grad Speech 2014 2 from AnnMarie Rudstrom on Vimeo.