Thursday, January 8, 2009

Bon Appetite Jesse

My Dear Dear Jesse,  
Did you forget about our dinner?  Remember, the one I was going to take you out to when you turned 21!  It was the last week for you as an 8th grader in my classroom.  You had finished all your work and were getting ready for graduation.  I called you over and expressed that in the years that I had know you, while I certainly enjoyed exploring math, literature, and a love of excellent food with you, I had one deep disappointment.  Your face looked so serious and I remember you didn’t even push your bangs out of your eyes, which you always did back then.  My disappointment, I continued, was that I was your teacher and not your peer.  Oh don’t get me wrong, I loved all the laughs and watching you grow and challenge yourself (you certainly didn’t need any motivation from me), but what I really loved were the easy and interesting conversations we would have about anything from food to buildings to friendships.  It was those conversations that would have been wonderful to have with you eating sushi in the middle of a cow field at 3am watching the stars, not eating sushi on a sticky old three-legged couch in the middle of the junior high room.  As so I made you a promises that day.  When you turned 21, we would go to dinner and enjoy a meal as adults, as peers, not as teacher/student. 

            And so Jesse, we will still have the dinner, I know we will.  I’ll be sitting in some café half way around the world surrounded by people who speak a different language and think a different way.  I’ll be eating the most wondrous food that I can’t pronounce and, better yet, not really even know what it is.  And then it will happen, you’ll appear with your wonderful boyish grin and while pushing your hair out of your eyes, laugh as you sit down to join me.  Oh you’ll be there, I’m sure and the conversation will flow as easy as it did on that sticky old couch. 

            Until then, I found an evaluation I wrote about you at the end of 7th grade.  In reading what others have written about you as you grew into a man, how clearly you stayed true to your self.  Bon Appetite Jesse, Bon Appetite!

Eval for Jesse L

Jesse has been a pleasure to have in the JH this year and we look forward to another year.  Jesse’s intellectual ability and role in the community was most clearly displayed in his leadership and extensive time commitment to the yearbook.  Never has there been a student who so completely devoted himself or herself to a project that ultimately was for others to enjoy.  Tim and I were so completely impressed by Jesse’s commitment to others; I know he expressed burn out at the end of the project, but I hope he soon recovers!

            Math was a place for great learning and, I believe, a greater sense of self-confidence for Jesse this year.  To say he began the year with just a bit of “math phobia” would be an understatement, and yet Jesse finished the year with top marks and an expressed confidence in his math ability.  His grades in other subjects such as writing, science, social studies, and lit do little to show the completeness that Jesse approaches all his work, putting nothing but 100% into each and every assignment. 

            Our goals for Jesse next year are to continue to challenge him and provide him structure to push himself as far as he can go academically.  We expect a high level of excellence from Jesse and will continue to do so.  Socially, Jesse has expressed apprehension about creating a social group for himself, after having so many close friends leave this year.  I have faith that Jesse will rise to the occasion, as he has demonstrated countless times this year, and fill his social needs, both in and out of school. 

            In summary, Jesse is an exemplary student and a true joy to have as a friend. 


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