To the First Students I Ever Taught

Dear KIPP Academy MS Class of 2018,

First, I want to say that I am proud of you. I am proud of the incredible work that you’ve done throughout the years, your grit, your ganas, and most importantly, your growth as students, as sisters and brothers, sons and daughters, teammates and young adults. I recognize you today, because we all know that everything you have at KIPP, you’ve earned, including your promotion to high school today.

Second, I’d like to say thank you. Thank you for continuing to inspire me. You might not know it, but I pay attention to your Facebook posts and tweets. Just the other day, I loved Ashley’s Mother’s Day post so much that I actually shared it with my own mom. I care that you’re content, that you feel confident in yourself, and that you’re proud of yourself as well. It really makes me smile when I see things like a video of Melissa and Joshua dancing, or Ericka and Briana liking the same fashion designer. And anything that you do to make yourself a better person, when I see that, it makes me want to be a better person, too.

Finally, Mr. Crumbine once said, that a teacher never forgets the first class she ever teaches, and I have to say, I’ve never forgotten you. I still tell the story of how we went to Washington, D.C. and we trusted you so much that as teachers, we let you disappear into the National Mall. We knew that you would make the right choices and take care of one another. I still have notes on what questions you asked and what things you liked. Sam, do you still wonder how the scientific method works? Frecia, how is your sister doing? Taron, I never did make it to that football game I wanted to go to … make sure you invite me to one if you’re playing when I come back to visit.

So, while I’m not here for you in person, do know that you are in my thoughts, and in my heart, and in my actions, every single day.

Congratulations again.

Ms. Chang