Foreword (to someone else’s book)

In preparation of our gallery and reception at the end of the month, I’m writing up a new blog post for every day until our Reception on March 26th. Given my track record, wish me luck.

In my many years of education, I have seen many students pass through my doors. First as a teacher, then as an administrator. As my career went on, I made it a personal mission to expand the capacity of my local. Public school system to fit all the wonderful children that were in our community. In a large city like mine, it would be amiss of us to not recognize all the talent there was in our bounds. So many of them were inadequately served by what my school board thought was the right way to car for these extraordinary people. Some of the kids who entered the doors of my schools were truly some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. They taught me things about life I had yet to understand even at my 76 years of age.
Last night, some of these kids came to honor me to celebrate my work, all fifty years of it. Some of them are renowned in their fields and even famous all around the world. Others are a little more hidden, but their lives have been transformed and who knows how many they’ve touched in their own lives. To think that I could have done that fills me with a certain pride and joy, because its far from what I initially imagined when I first went into the school system.
I had only gone in at the advisement of my grandfather. He coaxed me, saying that students would enjoy having such a young, smart teacher.  I went in there thinking I was going to I could just skate through until I figured out what I wanted to do with my life. But on the first day of school, those kids chewed me up, spit me out, and handed my behind back to me on a silver platter. The next day I decided to just steal a lesson plan from the movies. I forced those kids up to me and I opened up to them. From that day on, we didn’t have any problems. I goofed off a lot still, but they goofed off with me. They put me to task too, though. I taught them as best I could about everything in this world, because I wanted them to go out there grasping pens like swords and be my warriors in the world.
On the last day of that class, I decided that school was going to be my plan. I was going to raise generation after generation of warriors. The world needed kids to fix it, even if the “adults” didn’t try. After so many classes, I decided I was going to try my hand at something new: starting schools. I was no Mary Bethune, but I figured I was smart enough to make a magnet school. I was in my 25th year of teaching at time, and I was taking a few classes at the local university on secondary education. A new generation of kids were coming through, and they were admittedly way brighter than my own- they needed something beyond the old ways of thinking.  25 years later there’s six schools in the county that trace their way back to me. Some of them were partnerships with former students, others I had to spearhead myself with my blood, sweat, and tears.
For my 50th, I hope to find some of my students and recount what changed their lives forever. Their stories are far interesting than my own, so maybe they can inspire me to keep going to the next act of my career.

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About the Author

Andrew Walker Watson is a freshman International Studies Major. He loves Brazilian rap music, discovering useless facts, and, naturally, writing. If he could ever stop staring out into space, he would like to start a global movement to change the world and guest host Saturday Night Live.
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