Remember that last day of school feeling? The day finally came that you knew your debt to school was fully paid...at least for the summer. The last report was turned in. The final test was written. Books were returned. Your locker cleaned out for the last time. It took my dad an extra 40 years, but he's finally reached that point in his life as well. His retirement party after a long ministry of teaching (it really is a ministry, not a career) was last night at Illiana Christian High School. The last bell finally rang.
"I never really left school. It's just part of what I've always done. It doesn't seem possible this is really happening!" I heard him repeating. He was well roasted by his fellow teachers. They even sang a special number, a parody of "At the Hop" with the same familiar tune and entitled "At the Shop." But all his colleagues also very sincerely complimented his dedication, faithfulness, sense of organization and neatness, love and care of his students, and skill as a teacher. 40 years of teaching "shop" class, and no lost fingers or blinded eyes. That in itself is an amazing feat! But to have made an impact in the lives of generations of students, to teach even their children's children, that is even more amazing. It was fitting to end the evening with "Amazing Grace." Congratulations, Dad, on your 40 years of ministry.
Meanwhile, another generation of Lavermans was celebrating his last day of school...at least for summer. Kaori and I pulled up to his elementary school today to pick him up. I knew I was in for a great show, so I was careful to park the car in a way that we got an unblocked view of the school exit doors. Then we waited for the last bell.
We weren't disappointed. The kids literally came bounding out of the doors, dancing on air, skipping, leaping and swinging their school bags about them. It was written all over their faces: LAST DAY OF SCHOOL! Oh, what a feeling! Three months to daydream outside, swim in the pool, read a book of your own choosing, play with friends, vacation with family, and the list goes on.
Although Justen's school year was at Lansing Christian was a bit abbreviated (just 6 weeks as we returned to the States in mid-April), he was also thrilled to be finished. But he really enjoyed being with his classmates again (spent 1st and part of 3rd grade with same kids), and he loved his teacher, Mrs. Furlong, pictured here at the left. Mrs. Furlong is another teacher with a long impact as I remember her well from MY school days at Lansing Christian some 30 year ago.