Where do I begin? Well, THANK YOU to Michele for organizing a successful conference for the Connecticut Education Association Student Program. THANK YOU for allowing me to be a lecturer â€“ to teach groups of students the knowledge I have been waiting to share with people to make them informed decision-makers, educated students and people who could make a difference through a gift that is one of free will: education.
I smiled, cried tears of joy, and laughed so hard after the last lecture I gaveÂ with mom and dad â€“Â who came to see me. Michele, her helpers and parents for supporting me helped make Saturday a success for me. I suppose I could thank the students who took my class for absolutely rocking the joint with your opinions and engaging thoughts and presence, and for having my back. I suppose I could start a conversation with Michele that starts with â€œYou know, next time â€¦ â€
I could, however, recount some of the memories I had during the lectures I have that captured and warmed the heart I have:
Watching people cross the generation gap, make new friends and share the gift of educationÂ in the lectures is priceless. Â They had differentÂ peers,Â but it did not matter: everyone was part of the family, and everyone needed to be hugged and cherished.
I saw many things on Saturday morning; I heard so many stories being recounted and shared. Â I listened to each person during the interactive portion of the lectures I gave and wasÂoverwhelmed with tearful emotion. I was overwhelmed with joy. Â So many faces that brought me to realize that I am loving what I do â€¦ and appreciating life.
One thing I saw that I did not bring attention to was for two reasons. First, I did notÂ need to point it out as it spoke for itself. Second, I would have struggled holding it together. This is: the people who chose to smile and say â€˜Thank You, Drewâ€ after the lecture. I have never been more touched by such a simple gesture in my life. Â They were a part ofÂ a movement I startedÂ that would florish â€“ for the rest of studentâ€™s lives and my life. Those studentsÂ I had will continue to be a part of my life, if we see each other or not. Â Thank you to the folks who chose to do that along with Michele, her helpers and my parentsÂ â€“ it meant more to me than you will ever know.
Life does not ever turn out the way one envisions it. Â Life is not something that can be organized, put in a little box, and wrapped with a perfect bow. Life is messy (stated friends who want me to understand that!). Â No one knew a kid, at 18 turning 19 in a few months could be lecturing to upper college level students on a topic that Ph.DÂ holders study for years, months and days to come. No one knew whether I would benefit from this or collapse. No one knew what my future would bring. But I did. We always think we know everything, but in truth we are at the mercy of whatever comes along.
Lecturing, educating people and making a difference in lives is something I cherish to the heart. I could never envision myself to be in front of a classroom teaching while students are critically active inÂ thinking and writing. This is a feeling for me no one can understand, unless they do it. The Connecticut Education Association does promote teachers, parents and children. I look forward to each time when I lecture to future students, I look forward to remembering past lectures and students, and I look forward to knowing (if I did not now) that life always is a lesson. Each lesson, we can come together for a few moments, if anything, and be with each other to reflect on our impacts we have on each other, but most importantly, our times together.
Thanks to everyone for a wonderful and motivating program I was able to teach at this weekend. I love YOU ALL so much.