Here’s an excerpt:
A couple of years later I took the best class I have ever taken, Yearbook, with Mr. McCallum. McCallum, I hope you are reading this because any time I talk about why I do what I do I always say something about how your class was the most influential class I have ever taken. It ignited a passion in me and taught me all of the most important tools and tips I use in my writing today. In this class I mostly learned about how to write a good journalistic story. He taught us all about “Be verbs” and storytelling. That year I won a state yearbook award for a piece I did about a local haunted house. That simple award pushed me to the realization that maybe writing wasn’t just something I loved doing but something I could be good at. I also shot the pictures for that story so when the end of the year rolled in McCallum asked me to be a part of the editing staff as either a section editor or a photo editor. I had a choice. At that point I knew I loved designing layouts, writing, and copy editing as a “job” but I didn’t know if I would like photography as a “job.” So, for adventure’s sake, I chose the position of photography editor.
As I read this blog, I was immediately transported back in time to 2006 – seven years ago. Memories flooded back, and I replied:
Of course I read it! I remember those days so well. I remember the day you shared the draft of your Phoenix story in class. It’s strange how much that is burned into my memory. I even remember where you were sitting that day, the the back corner near the file cabinets. I think it’s so memorable, because that moment changed so much about the way I teach writing and what I focus on as important. That story changed the book that year and echoes still. That was such a great day. You are an incredible writer for the same reason you are a brilliant photographer – you care about people. You have so much compassion and empathy in your work and that means your subjects shine.
I remember your photography at the State Championship and all the work you did throughout the year to earn your place in front of the professionals.
I am honored to have played a role in your life and I appreciate that you took the time to include me in this. Thank you for making the choice to be a photographer and for the many ways you shared your gifts not only with me and the school, but with all of the people you’ve touched with your work.
It’s always amazing to me when I find out what moments matter most. They are never the ones I expect or even plan for. Instead, they’re made up of small moments of personal connection mixed with people pursuing their passion. They come from encouragement and celebration. It’s always a moment of support and recognition of someone’s talents and abilities while letting them know the are welcome and appreciated.
I need more of these moments. They’re the ones that truly matter.
I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to work so closely with amazing people for the past 13 years. This is a reminder about how important is to continue to advise and teach and push myself to be the best teacher I can be.