Tomorrow by the end of the day, all our high schools will have graduated their senior class. For all the graduates, it means turning the page to the next chapter in life. Some will have a more defined plan, others will just be breathing a sigh of relief and hoping something comes up. Regardless of the different approaches, things will never be the same.

The last few days of the school year are some of the most enjoyable for me. Not because classes are soon to end, but what I get to discuss with many of the juniors and seniors. For the seniors it is more real as they see what is going to happen within a few days and the juniors are realizing they are about to enter the fourth and last lap of the high school journey.

As a teacher, if you have done things right, you have developed a rapport of respect and open communication with your students. This time of year the conversations and discussions take on more meaning and depth.

Monday morning in my Aerospace class, after we finished the final exam review and packed up the class materials, the students were left to work on other things. I sat with a young lady who would not be able to take the Aerospace class next year due to a scheduling conflict. I asked her what class she was going to take, and she said, “Introduction to Teaching”.

That led to a discussion of what inspired her to explore teaching. Her eyes lit up when she indicated she might want to teach 3rd of 4th grade and indicated other professions where serving others was the common denominator. She really became animated when she disclosed her real passion was to become involved with marine ecology. She loves the ocean and wants to find a way to develop a career studying the oceans.

With what she is exploring and her passion, there are many crossovers. I see them, and maybe you do too, and as time goes on, I hope she will too. A follow-up discussion will occur after she takes her final exam. These are the conversations that strike at the core of what we do as a teacher. We are there to help guide our students to the “Options and Opportunities” that lie ahead for them.

So, to our graduating seniors, CONGRATULATIONS and WELL DONE! To our juniors soon to be seniors, get ready for next year. It will go by quickly so prepare to make the best of it. New chapters in life are developing. Some of the students I will see again, the seniors will be off to new adventures. The most significant “paycheck” we receive as teachers is when some of our students come back to visit, send the text or e-mail, or make the phone call to let us know what they are doing and maybe how what we did as a teacher helped along the way. Pure magic!

A few updates from our EAA Chapter and the School District Aviation Program next year at the airport.

1. We will not be offering Young Eagle flights until next September due construction and the ramp being torn up.

2. We will continue to have the monthly pancake breakfasts on the second Saturday of the month, June 8th, July 13th, and August 10th.

3. If you know a high school age person who is interested in aviation / aerospace encourage them to contact me or their high school guidance counselor and enroll in our program next school year. Enrollment slots are filling up.

John Rousch is an Aviation/Aerospace Technology Instructor with the School Board of Highlands County, Pilot and President of EAA Chapter 1240, Sebring, FL He can be contacted at: johnrousch73@gmail.com, call or text 863-273-052.

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