quinta-feira, 26 de abril de 2012

''Dispatch from PA''

For the past few days I've been down at my fiancee's parents' house in southern Pennsylvania.
Yesterday we went to one of her friend's weddings, and the day before we hiked about four miles on the Appalachian Trail.
The weather, finally, has been sunny and warm. It was great to get outdoors and walk in the woods, if only for a few hours.

It feels like spring has finally arrived. As usual, its arrival marks the beginning of the end of the school year. My seniors have less than a month left - the rest less than two. The finish line is clearly in sight, yet the final stretch is by no means easy.

My seniors have to finish Lord of the Flies, complete a research project, and take a final exam. My freshmen are wrapping up a poetry unit before delving into Romeo & Juliet. They also have their fourth-quarter Outside Reading Books to read and present, and a final exam to take in June.

My journalism students are busy trying to put out two more newspapers before school ends. They're also planning for next year, devising ways we can improve all aspects of the paper, from the creation of story ideas to interviewing to editing to photography to layout.

Just before April vacation three of my journalism students and I went to Tufts University for a high school journalism conference. It was without question one of the highlights of the year. We had an opportunity to mingle with other scholastic journalists and teachers while also meeting some of the best professionals in the business.

We sat in on seminars by an ACLU lawyer, a two time Pulitzer-prize-winning photographer, an award-winning Boston Globe reporter, and a Tufts professor who has spent years working as a political consultant for a variety of presidential candidates. It was great to be reminded that we are part of a larger community, and to know that many of our struggles are shared.

In a few hours I'll be on a plane back to Massachusetts. Even though we booked our flight a few months in advance, the earliest flight back to New England leaves at 8:30 p.m. We'll arrive in Providence, RI, around 9:45. We'll then have a two-hour drive back to our home in Western Massachusetts.

I think I'll be brewing the coffee extra strong tomorrow morning.

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