/> Raising Angels: My Alma Mater

Saturday, November 26, 2011

My Alma Mater

We spent a large part of this weekend at a homecoming/fundraising event for my high school, which just happens to be the school where I taught for seven years as well as the one my kids attend today. It's a very large part of what makes my life so wonderful.

Friday night was filled with alumni basketball games and lots of memories shared in the stands. Saturday there were meals for all of the former athletes and a championship basketball game. The winning team, by the way, was coached by the most talented coach I've ever run across...my dad. Good job dad! It was so very fun to see you in action again.

My graduating class of oh so long ago was made up of a whopping 13 students. Needless to say, we were pretty tight and, for the most part, still are to this day. When I entered this school in the ninth grade I had a senior girl as my big sister. Her job was to make me feel welcome and teach me the ropes. She saved me many times as I got used to an entirely different school system. We laughed a lot this weekend remembering those days.

At our luncheon the guest speaker was another dear friend who is now an assistant principal at a local high school. She spent most of her talk thanking teachers and coaches who not only did their jobs well, but changed her life. "Amy," she said in the middle of it, "be sure to thank your dad for me. Thank him for my college basketball scholarship. Coach Killips taught me the one-handed jump shot and I'll be eternally grateful to him. Please make sure you tell him that Amy."

Here's an aside: My dad is a rock star basketball coach. He is at his best when he's teaching kids to shoot hoops. I recognized that when I was a kid and totally appreciate that now.

My school...our school is a hidden treasure. At one point, eight of the last ten valedictorians at Augusta State University, were Alleluia Community School alumni. Our graduates are surgeons, lawyers, educators, business owners, public servants, published writers, priests and religious to name a few. We have high academic standards, high test scores, and a high graduation rate.

The intellectual aspects are top-notch indeed but that's not what I love most about our school. Someone asked me recently why I send my kids there and I told them that even if the academics lacked a degree of excellence, I could fill in the gaps at home. What is irreplaceable is the fact that if the school was burning to the ground and my child was the only student left inside, any one of those teachers would run through the flames to save him or her. Of that, I have no doubt. Those teachers are some of the most intelligent, self-sacrificing, creative, devoted people I have ever met. They love our students almost as much as their parents do.

Thanksgiving weekend, it seemed more than appropriate to spend time celebrating and supporting a place that has made such an impact on so many lives. I am thankful, so thankful, that my parents made the decision to send me there. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to pay it forward by teaching there. And, I am so appreciative that I can send my own children there to experience what I did.

I know that I have many, many blessings to count, but this weekend I spent some time focusing on one of my favorites and it was very, very fun.


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