I asked my middle school students to write an essay on the most important day in their lives. Some students wrote about their birthdays; others wrote about out of town trips. Boys wrote about sports events; girls wrote about meeting someone important. And so it went.
The most touching moment came when I read Clarissa’s paper. She told us the most important day of her life would be in the future when she graduated from high school. She said her father wanted her to graduate from high school because he had not been able to, and he wanted that experience for his daughter.
As I read her paper I could hear the young voice, “I want my father to be proud of me. I want to see his face as I walk across the stage. I know he will smile at me, and I shall smile at him. I’ll be thinking, ‘I did it, Daddy. I did it all for you.’”
As I read the last sentence my eyes released tears. Someone asked me, “Hey, Miss, are you crying?”
“No,” I answered. Perhaps I should have told the truth. The emotion I experienced in reading Clarissa’s paper touched me immensely. You see, I, too, was very close to my father, and I wanted him to be proud of me. When I read her paper, I realized I could have been that young girl many years before speaking the identical words.