Class Reunion · 29 August 2009

I started my teaching career at Cedarcrest High School fourteen years ago. That year, seven teachers and about 200 students started a fantastic journey together. One of those other new teachers became my wife and lots of those students have become my friends. Recently, two other teachers, my wife, and I crashed the reunion of the Cedarcrest class of 1999 to catch up on their lives and relive some of that journey we shared together.

I can hardly believe that it has been 10 years since the class of 1999 graduated. It seems like yesterday that they were walking into my classroom or onto my football field ready to learn. They probably did not know it then but when they came into my world, they became my kids. For four short years, we learned about each other and life as we went through a period of life called high school. All too soon they walked out the doors and into the world. Graduates.

I have said before that I am a bit melancholy when the end of the school year arrives and my students leave me. Much of this is because of the closeness I develop with the students who take my classes multiple times. When the class of 1999 left, I was dismayed and excited like any proud father. My babies were leaving the nest.

I have watched many students grow up during high school but I have had only one class go through my own growing years as a teacher. I watched as they struggled with classes, grades, dating, athletics, and all the other foibles and follies of being teenagers. They got to watch me go through the struggles of being a new teacher and coach. I got to see them shape a school culture through their interactions with people around them. They got to see how I interacted with teenagers and with my peers. We got to see each other deal with change. I hope that I had some positive effect on them. I know they had a positive effect on me.

When we crashed the class party, there was a moment of fear when I wondered whether we would really be welcome at their special time. I wondered whether we would be seen as intruders rather than guests who wanted to reunite with loved ones. That moment of trepidation was forgotten when we were welcomed with open arms by the gatekeepers and those in the room. The students talked to us and reminisced with us as if we were part of their graduating class. It was a great night of catching up with old friends. And I was delighted that the class of 1999 considered us part of their family.

I am glad our former students included us in their conversations that often started, “Remember when…” That they let us laugh with them as they remembered their formative years. That they let us share in the excitement of what has happened since they left our care in the hallowed halls of learning. That they let us crash their party.

Fourteen years ago, I am sure that I did not plan on going to the Cedarcrest class of 1999 reunion. But the seeds of that thought were planted four years after that during homecoming week of their senior year. Since it was my fourth year at our school, I figured that I should wear a toga on the day of the homecoming game like the seniors did. After all, they were my kids. They were my senior class. But I chickened out and have still never worn a toga.

I will probably not wear a toga to the next reunion of the Cedarcrest class of 1999, but I plan on going. Maybe I will even be invited to that one. But if not, I will crash it again.

© 2009 Michael T. Miyoshi

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