Jul 2, 2008

All Grown Up

Kids No Longer--these young adults are out to change the world! From left to right: Derek, Isa, Myla (with Shoko's baby girl), Me, Shoko, and Jimmy.(Myla and Derek's son was sleeping in his stroller).

One of the greatest rewards for Babs and me of having been here in Saipan for the past ten years has been watching our students grow up. The kids I first taught in seventh and eighth grade, as well as our first class of freshman in the year 2000, are all grown up now. Some of them even have kids of their own!

This past Sunday evening, Babs and I invited some of these former kids-turned-young-adults over for dinner. There was Shoko Harada who was in seventh grade when we first moved to Saipan. She was in my first 7/8 class. She now works as a supervisor in the leather section at our upscale DFS mall in Garapan, and she's the mother to a brand-new baby girl. Jimmy Arriola and his sister Isa also joined us. Jimmy was my student for only one year, as part of our first class of freshman, but he continued to be a part of our school family after that as a student director for REAL Christian Theater. He's now working on his masters degree at the University of Hawaii and intends to return to Saipan to serve the local community. Isa is two years younger than Jimmy and also attended our school for one year at the same time as Jimmy, though she also continued to stay connected to us through REAL. She's attending Brown University and majoring in Anthropology. Finally, there were our students-turned-friends Derek and Myla. Derek and Myla have been a pretty regular part of our lives and have made good friends among our teachers who are--gasp--pretty close to them in age. Myla, who was my student for four years at SDA , now works at the World Resort while Derek works for Pacific Digital Media. They are both parents to a son, who is about to turn one in August.

It was so amazing to sit and eat and talk with these kids and realize that they were no longer kids--they were adults, and we talked no longer as teachers and students but as peers and equals. In fact as Jimmy and Isa talked eloquently and intelligently about their passion for their island home, and their desire to return here and help make a difference here; as Shoko explained to us soon-to-be parents the in's and out's of giving birth; as Myla talked about the experience of being a mom, I found I learned a lot from them. They're all so smart, so talented, and so accomplished. I couldn't be prouder and I consider myself fortunate to have had a part to play in their formative years.

It was a fun and inspiring evening and it made me glad all over again that I have the greatest job in the world, and with that the added blessing of being able to see my students all grown up.

Still, not everything had changed. "I can't help it. I still call you, Mr. Maycock," Myla said. And you know what? That's okay with me. In the sense of my love and care for them, my desire for them to excel and be happy and love and be loved and know God, I am--and always will be--their teacher, Mr. Maycock.

Check out our "new" dining room table. Actually we got it from Carol Paez, and our good friend Manny Serrano painstakingly refinished and stained it for us. Those of you that remember the old wobbly table with the backless, basically-broken chairs will recognize this as a great improvement. Manny finished the dining set just in time for our visitors this past Sunday evening.

We gather around the table for some good food (penne rustica, eggplant parmesan, a Greek salad, and French bread with olive dip, courtesy of Babs) and grown-up conversation.


Mai said...

I love the new dining table set! It's beautiful! That's cool that you got to hang out with your old students - I can't wait until my kiddos are old enough to do that! I know they're all gonna grow up to be amazing people!

Anonymous said...

wow barbara just glows and glows and glows:)


Aya said...

oh my gosh the food looks SO good! i'm sad i wasn't there (no, not JUST for the food!), because i'm sure that was a really really fun night!

it feels so weird... we were all just in middle school, but look at us now. and i speak for myself, though i'm sure all the others will agree, it's really great to still be in contact with a teacher from 100000 years ago. (haha just kidding about the years.) but it really does mean something when you're still reuniting and keeping in touch with your past students, and it means even more for us, to want you in our lives even long after leaving SDA! because a lot of my other friends, their jr high and high school teachers meant, well, nothing to them :p

thanks for being a super awesome teacher, even when you're technically not even our teacher anymore.

Whimsy Peddler said...

AH! Tears...so many tears! I want to be there eating with you at your new table, which is beautiful.

I miss you all. Deric and Myla look so gorgeous, Barbara looks like sunshine.

Love you all!