Goodbye Seniors!

Core scripture: “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

MessageThis blog has a target audience for my former students who are now seniors in high school.  If you happen to know one of them, would you do me a favor and send this to them?

Dear seniors,
Oh my, how time flies.  I can remember when you guys were gangly, awkward middle schoolers.  You boys had this weird idea that flirting with the girls entailed poking them continually and insulting them.  And you ladies probably were wondering when the boys would EVER grow up.  I have been glancing through my old scrapbook the past few weeks.  Every time I open it, a new memory comes rushing over me like a wave. 
Serenity and “No Sleep Till” Brooklyn … Do you remember the day your hamster Blaize died?  I even wrote about it on my blog way back on November 29, 2016.  You guys should check out Blaize of Glory!  It was the first and only time I ever wept and gave a eulogy over a dead hamster.  All five hours of the day in fact.  Serenity, are you still wrestling?  Remember you wore that wrestling mouthpiece to school every day?  And Brooklyn did it ever bother you that your nickname revolved around a Beastie Boys song?  I still remember your face lighting up every time you heard your special nickname.
What about my insane 3rd hour class … Do you guys remember the day you somehow convinced me to play the song Broccoli in class?  Do you remember how I had to put Kaitlyn, Paige, and Granny Ride all in separate corners of the room?  You guys still shouted across the room at each other.  Or how about the day that Jocelyn “Chicken Nuggets” did her A Long Walk to Water speech by impersonating Uncle Jewiir getting shot?  I likewise recall the day that poor Granny Ride made a basket on her own goal in the basketball game, and I had to step in to help you save face.  I hope you recovered from that!  Back then it meant the world to you.
Then there were my apple fairies from 5th hour.  Maya, Mikayla, Ju Ju, and Anissa … you ladies were so full of Ohana that you brought me apples every day from lunch.  Did you realize what you started?  Every year since you guys left, someone else has taken that tradition on.  I haven’t had to buy apples at the grocery store for years!  The year you guys left, I actually ate from them until July!  Maya, you were my Ohana Queen of the Year.  Anissa, are you still all about soccer?  Ju Ju, do you still do dance?  Mikayla, how is your family doing?  I think I taught them all!
Tanner and Nolan … Do you have any idea how much it meant to me to see you guys come back and say hi last Friday?  Your friendship was legendary.  Tanner, you were my Ohana King of the Year, and Nolan, your moment of glory came when you did your final speech about your friendship with Tanner.  You had the note card in hand, complete with every point you wanted to make, and at the last second you paused in dramatic fashion, looked at the card, and tossed it aside, speaking fully from your heart.  I think I may have wept from my desk.  It was a mic drop moment that will forever be frozen in time.
Man, as I flip through the memories in my scrapbook, I realize I cannot write fully about them all.  We could fill pages upon pages!  I am going to shift the focus from writing entire descriptive paragraphs to capturing memories through small snippets:
·       Dax, your Giver presentation was legendary.  Do you remember tossing your sister onto a couch and chucking a teddy bear across your yard?  Classic, man.  Just classic!
·       Christian, do you remember the day I came into my classroom and you were the only one there?  Sitting in my chair with your feet on my desk?  You kinda freaked me out, dude!  Especially when you said, “Mr. Daniels … I was expecting you!”
·       Karlie, I miss you so much!  Literally! I remember you saying the word “literally” one day, and using that word in a sentence every time I referred to you. Yep, still haven’t forgotten!
·       Oh, yes, there were my two love birds, Eryn and Ben.  I know you two are probably not still together, but you were like the power couple back then!
·       Juan, I have told the story of your amazing final speech to every group of students since you left.  Do remember when you got that standing ovation?  It left me in tears.
·       Catelyn, my Flying Squirrel, I wonder how you are doing.  Do you still dance and cheer?
·       Samuel and Cesar, you guys had the original bromance.  You were two of a kind!
·       Oh dear, I see a picture of Anaya “Killin’ It” and Audrey Swansonian and of course my Fashionista, Hallee.  The three of you will live forever in my Daniels Hall of Fame!
·       Alejandra, you were my Unknown.  Do you remember that?  You wrote all those sincere comments to others, praising them anonymously.  Your words were as sweet as honey.
·       Alexa and Paige, I know you two cheer at Olathe North now.  I saw your pictures in the fall at the North vs. South game, but I am looking at a picture of both of you in 7th grade cheer together.  Adorable!
·       Riley, are you still writing?  Seriously, you better be.  You had some talent!  And it meant the world to me when you stopped by with Granny Ride to say hi.  Miss you!
·       Isabelle, do you still watch Criminal Minds?  You were obsessed with that show back in 7th grade!
·       And to the Rice twins … How the heck are you?  How is Mare Bear?  You guys always kept me on my toes—in a good way!
·       Lily, do you still dance?  Do you still have that golden smile that lights up the room?  My Ohana Queen of 2nd Hour never failed to deliver!
·       Tucker, why is the Ohana King of the Year crown upside down on your head.  Bruh! 
·       Clara and Aiden, my King and Queen of 7th hour, I miss your leadership in FCA. 
·       Robyn, do you still work at Raisin’ Canes?  I enjoyed seeing you there!
·       Ellie and Marissa, you were my Ohana Queens of 3rd Hour!  Such a cute picture I am looking at here of you two holding the crown. 
·       Abbie, I miss you!  Do you still play softball?  Do you still do FCA?
·       How about Stacy, the African Savage … Are you still spinnin’ mad rhymes and rapping?
·       Payton, you were all about dance, and you were SO talented!  Are you still using that precious gift you were blessed with?
·       Jared, you are a HOUSE!  I saw you dominate in that North vs. South football game on the defensive line.  How did you get to be so big? 
·       Andrew, I am slightly concerned that you posed for a picture with a basketball in your sweatshirt, pretending you were pregnant. 
·       Sandra, I was so glad to see you last month!  Do you remember how you hustled on the basketball court out there?  That was your saving grace.  It allowed you to truly shine!
·       Bella, you wore that Stitch shirt on the first day of school and got your nickname for the rest of the school year: Stitch! 
·       And here is a picture of my FCA huddle, surprising Whitney Rodden with tons of stuffed animals for her precious daughter’s charity organization, Harper’s Hugs. 
I wonder if any of those seniors who graced my classroom five years ago are reading this for the first time now, wondering where the heck time went.  Can you all do me a favor?  Share this sentiment with those kids.  If you keep in contact with anyone who was on the 7th grade Blue Team in 2016-2017, let them know how special they are to me.  You all will live forever in my heart.
Ohana forever,
Mr. Daniels
Challenge: Seniors, if you are reading this, you will never know how much I miss you.  I have already bought a handful of Target gift cards and graduation cards.  Hint, hint.  Wink, wink.  Nudge, nudge.  Translation: It would absolutely make my day if I was to be invited to a plethora of graduation parties over the next month.  Seeing Riley at hers the other week was incredible, and I promise I would make every effort to stop by yours with my scrapbook in hand to show you all how much I love you and how much you have matured.  It would warm my heart to fill my upcoming May weekends with opportunities to see you all.  E-mail me at or even better, drop your graduation card by in person.  I know you guys are busy, but it would make this teacher’s day to see you one last time before you fly off to your next phase of life. At the very least, you could reply to my blog here and share your favorite memory from my classroom.
Video application: Here is an old video I found of my kids talking about the Ohana classroom.  I presented at the Olathe Summer Conference that year and used this video to begin my presentation.
Then I found this gem of a video we played on the last day of school.  Check it out!
Prayer points: Lift up the following areas to the Lord …
·       Praise God for the numerous seniors graduating soon!
·       Pray for their transitions to their next steps in life.
·       Pray that I will not tear up too much as I pay respects to this amazing group of kids.
Just for fun: I remember one day I was extremely bored.  The kids were all working quietly, I had nothing to do, and I was tempted to get out my iPad and play a bit of Madden Mobile.  I thought nobody saw me—until Caleb came up to me at the bell and said, “How’s your team ranked now?”  Busted!
Prayer: Father, thank you so much for the seniors and the potential they bring to this world to change it for the better.  Amen.
Categories: Uncategorized

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