The One That Got Away

Dear A~~~~~~,

As I look around the gym I notice that you didn’t show up for your final. And honestly, my heart sank. Part of me wondered why I thought you would come given your frequency of attendance this past quarter. I couldn’t help but think that you were going to be the one that didn’t get away.

I don’t know if you remember your first assignment for Chemistry last fall. It was the student and parent survey. You claimed you were going to make more of an effort to attend and be engaged in school. You talked about clubs you were going to become involved in, people you were going to work with. It seemed as though you were invested in making school a place you wanted to stay. Why didn’t we make sure that actually happened?

What I remember most was your surprise when you handed in the papers and saw that your mother had written something on the parent one. I have poured over that paper for hours since receiving it. I actually called your mom, several times, about the comment she wrote “I hope that A~~~~~ does not do what I did and stop going to school. He needs it. I wish I had gone”. I shared that paper with a few of your teachers and we were optimistic that you would stay.                

Knowing that I can’t help but think there is something I could have done for you to help you see the value of coming to school, even when you just want to go to bed. We were thrilled when you responded to our emails. Even more excited when you said you had no intentions of not making it. But since the weekend before Memorial Day, we haven’t seen you. This worries us. Because we do understand and we do care.

The year got off to a great start for you too. I was excited to see your involvement with the color run. Your pictures truly outlined the spirit of the day. After the first and second quarters your attendance was 2x what it had been the previous year. Discussions of reinstituting a school wide photographer or having you teach Mr.——’s kids about photography were going on. There was so much hope that we could help you overcome the ‘junior year’ hurdle.

As your teachers, we were able to see what you are capable of achieving. The awesome work you are able to do. While we don’t live your life and none of us have ever experienced what you are, we are aware of the consequences for not graduating high school. We know that the GED test is now pretty hard and that you might need that someday to follow/pursue your dreams. We have shared with you how great your photography is and the challenges with securing steady employment with only highlights of that skill. It is still unbelievable to me that with such great talents and supports you are the one that got away.

While your emails in April and brief appearance in May gave us hope it also instilled some fear. We are also worried about your sadness, lack of motivation to come to school or to do anything. We understand the health insurance situation, something the school has resources to help you with that you may otherwise struggle to find.

We don’t want you to feel bad for us. We want you to know that your future is in your hands. We are simply here to cheer you on, throw you a life-jacket, and give you a hand when needed. Please know, when next September comes around the door will be wide open and there will be loving arms welcoming you, excited to see you and hopeful that we can overcome these hurdles.

Truly,

Ms. Zullo and Your teachers

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