DSA always has the best graduations. We hear this every year along with encouragement to attend as graduation celebrates both our students and our success as teachers in helping them make it to this major life transition. Plus, the kids love to see us there supporting their achievement! After 16 years of teaching, I am proud to say that I have attended 14 of these annual ceremonies. The only graduations that I have missed were for one class where I really didn't have a connection with any of the seniors very early in my career as an educator and the year my son graduated from Northern High School. While the core of each ceremony is the same, there are subtle differences between them as well. And, the same goes with each graduating class.
Although I see a small percentage of any one graduating class in my classroom, I get to know my students in ways that most teachers rarely do as my seniors generally stick with me throughout their entire time in high school. So we tend to form strong bonds, both professional and personal, over the course of their four years of exploring game design. In this year's class, I saw amazing artistic talent with both digital and traditional artistic techniques, great leadership and collaboration, amazing and (at times) surprising growth, I watched as individuals came out of their shells to rise in personal confidence and yes, I worried about whether a couple of them would make it to graduation or if they would be back in my classroom for an extra year. But, through all the ups and down (and there were a lot of those roller coasters throughout this year), this group of students showed amazing growth and perseverance. They were a great group and the lack of their presence in my classroom will be missed.
I wish all of this year's graduates the best in whatever life has to offer them now that they have passed this first hurdle toward independence. I see great things ahead for them!
I am a high school Career & Technical Education (CTE) teacher located in Durham, NC with a focus on game art and design. This blog provides a place for reflection on relevant classroom practices.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not represent those of my employer or anyone else associated with Durham Public Schools.