Friday, September 22, 2017

Teacher Appreciation Week 2017

(***Editor’s Note*** This post is coming in hot after the end of the real Teacher Appreciation Week festivities because of some crazy work schedules that comes with switching jobs. While the posting is late, the appreciation to these wonderful people is undying and daily in its observance.)

Each Year I have chosen to honor one of the teachers who helped make me into the man I am today. In one way or another, everyone that I have ever learned from has been a teacher, but it takes a true heart, unwavering spirit, and a love for imparting knowledge that distinguishes a teacher from a true mentor.

This year I have chosen to honor my tenth grade English/Language Arts and Speech teacher, Mrs. Kristin (Wooldridge) Bonner. Since my time in her classroom and within the realm of her theatre, she has met and married the love of her life, started an absolutely gorgeous young family, and most excitedly, has actively returned to the world of teaching and coaching a new generation of young students and actors!

In keeping with tradition, I have decided to write this post as a personal letter from my journal. Enjoy!


Image is copyright by Clarissa Yvette DuBois.

Dear Miss W,

I know it’s been a very long time since people have called you that, but you know what they say about old habits, eh? Anywho…Hey there! It’s me, Chris! I doubt you remember me all that well, but that has less to do with your memory and more to do with what I jokingly have called a terminal case of low self-esteem. I was always shy and reserved, but that’s more due to being petrified of other people. High school was rough, and scary, and well… for a long time it was hell. And then sophomore year happened…I only took one class from you, and was still bloody-well petrified of doing or saying anything in front of people. However, the classroom wasn’t the first arena in which our paths crossed. It was your auditorium…the wonderful home to which you now return, actually…that I first got a glimpse into the world of planning, acting, singing, blocking, choreography, lighting, rigging, sound, and projection that goes into an operation as large as a stage play or musical. Most importantly, however, you taught me and guided me by the example you set of the absolute importance of full, honest, open, and respectable communication.

You taught me that every single part, no matter the size or complexity is equal to all others and just as important to the finished product. In short, every single part has to do their part with precision and integrity and most importantly trust…trust that each other part will do just as well as you have.

I have taken these basic principles with me to everything I have since accomplished, especially into large operations like the seven years I spent teaching within Walmart, and various other jobs over the years, and now even more as I return to a company and field I love. 

But the most important place that I have taken your wisdom has been into my beautiful and patiently understanding family. At times, I have been a very selfish and insensitive person when it comes to my family. Recently they sacrificed greatly by not having me present in their lives for 85% of the last 18 months in order for me to get a commercial driving license in the hopes that it would make me a more valuable asset to whomever I work for in the future. It drove us to the brink, but you modeled for me, most importantly, first to trust in God, and then especially trust the rest of the “operation”, which in this case the rest of my “crew” is my wife, and that she would do her absolute best to keep it together while I was away, and she would raise our children in that eighteen months with the same honor and integrity I strive for in myself.

You, Miss W, are among the greatest teachers and leaders that our community has had the honor of hosting, and I am proud to both know you and have studied under your leadership and integrity both as a student and in theatre. Even though I am far removed from the area these days, it excites me that our community and a new generation of students have a new opportunity to learn from your wisdom and example!

All my love to you and your family!

God Bless,

Chris VanderReyden

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