They looked like us, lived in the same area as us, played the same sports as us, and walked the same halls as us. For 57 years, students just like us have attended Forest Hills Central. Of course, for the first twenty years of its existence, it was just Forest Hills High School, until those Huskies came into existence in the 70s. I recently poured over old yearbooks in the library, and the feeling that I had when I searched through books spanning over six decades was the feeling that you get when watching one of those videos that compares the size of Earth to the size of other planets, stars, and galaxies. I was surprised and perplexed because the Class of 2016 is simply a blip in the massive history of this school. As I searched further I found a picture of Ms. Hartsoe in her first year here in 1984, Mr. McClees in 1995, and Mr. and Mrs. Mills in 1997. I even found a few familiar faces in the 1997 yearbook that were custodians, food service personnel, and teacher aides.
These teachers and staff members have spent their entire adult lives caring about the young people that have roamed these halls. They have done more than assign homework and give tests; they have invested their emotions and countless hours into these students that just happened to be placed into their classes. Mr. Chudy has unwaveringly taught Chemistry for 21 years, Mr. Scholten has taught science for 13, and Mr. George has taught English for 22. These teachers have shown an undeniable dedication to their subject, to their students, and to this school through all the curriculum changes, construction projects, administrative changes, and changes in technology. To be that dedicated is so admirable, and it truly does go overlooked by most students. Sitting in Ms. Steensma’s first hour yoga class, the normal student usually doesn’t realize that she has been educating teens for over twenty years, five days a week, 300 days a year. She has come to school for 6,000 mornings in her career, and very few students realize it.
This dedication is what has caused me to pursue a career in teaching. I want to one day say that I was dedicated enough and proud enough of my craft to commit my career to empowering, educating, and investing myself in teenagers. I hope to leave a lasting impact on students, just like I have grown up seeing admirable individuals selflessly dedicating themselves to teenagers. All I know is that one day, I hope that I can say that I have done my very best to make a change in the lives of students, however small or large that change may be.