During my life, I’ve had the opportunity to meet many wonderful people. From students I taught to those for whom I served as principal to more recent connections through my nonprofit work, I’ve encountered amazing individuals and developed lasting relationships with many.
Believing life is a series of connections and relationships, my chosen fields of work have provided this extraordinary opportunity that has truly enriched my life.
While I confess that I’m not totally on board with all the technological changes of the past thirty years, I have embraced Facebook, notwithstanding recent newsworthy concerns
about the platform. Facebook, and other forms of social media, have provided the chance to stay in touch with many of those with whom I’ve connected over the years. I regularly view posts from high school and college classmates, fellow educators and those involved in the nonprofit world.
Many of my favorite Facebook connections over the years have been with former students. Hearing about their lives and successes has been truly rewarding. And understanding that success can be measured in a number of ways is very revealing.
Facebook has provided the opportunity to follow many former students who have gone on to have successful careers in just about every profession imaginable: professional athletes, military servicemen and women, entertainers, musicians, writers, chefs, educators, attorneys, doctors, bankers and so many more. Having known and worked with these individuals in their formative years and seeing where they’ve gone and what they’ve accomplished is both gratifying and fulfilling.
And while many have major accomplishments to their credit, some of the most rewarding stories are of students whose successes are more of an everyday nature — those who are working less glamorous jobs, providing for their families and enjoying life. This is particularly satisfying for those students I worried about the most — those who could very easily have taken their lives in less productive directions. Hearing they are
leading productive lives and caring for their loved ones is truly satisfying.
Of course, I comment from time to time when I see a post of a young child with the proud parent (former student) proclaiming their child made straight As or is on the honor roll, particularly when the parent didn’t place the same value on doing well when they were in school. However, parents always want better for their children and it’s wonderful to see this commitment to the next generation.
Unfortunately, not all news on Facebook is good. There are those for whom life has been more difficult — the unexpected illness, the missed opportunity, the failed business. But many who have experienced trouble in their lives expressed a renewed faith to overcome and make life better for themselves and their loved ones.
Their optimism is an inspiration. Most students who went through T.C. Williams received both an educational foundation and wide-ranging social interactions, which allowed them to better function in the world.
Often, former students tell me they understand the differences in others and are better able to work with individuals from a variety of backgrounds than are their peers. They look back fondly on their days as part of the T.C. Williams family feeling unlike many do about their high school experience.
Working with so many wonderful people has been a rewarding opportunity.
Keeping in touch, hearing of where life has taken them, sharing in their successes and empathizing with them in times of trouble, can’t be equaled. Once a Titan, always a Titan.