Sunday, March 28, 2010
Old Car Week
Welcome to Old Car Week here at OPOD. I love old cars, so we are going to spend some time looking at a time when cars were simpler, and life moved a little slower. I don't have a date for the photo, but I would guess it was in the 1920's or perhaps 1910's. Perhaps some Old Car buff could identify the date from the looks of the car.
Haven't' talked much lately about my year as a school teacher. Things are going very well, and I really enjoy the students I have. They pretty much have very limited resources, but they are all working very hard. My multimedia class just launched their class WEB site. In this class, I have one project they work on all year. The project for them was to build a WEB site that has inspiring posters. This last week, they got the first edition of the WEB site published, and it is called Inspiring Posters. They made the posters by finding old photographs, restoring them, colorizing them, and then adding an ispiring quote. If you visit the site and like it, you might drop them a note of encouragement at the email address at the bottom of each page on their site. I think they did a nice job. Also, they are offering prints of their work for sale on the site. Proceeds from any sales go to buying new equipment for the class. I am trying to show them that if you do good work, people will buy it.
Speaking of WEB sites, those of you that have been with the blog for a while remember my multimedia class last year. This group of students was a very troubled group of students who had convinced themselves long ago that they were all failures. In the class, there was one particularly troubled student named Dustin. Dustin had been in, and was in all types of trouble. In the class, I taught them that they could be excellent at something, and they built the Picture Indian WEB site. As they built the site, they got thousands of emails of encouragement, many from followers of this blog. This gave them incredible confidence, and really changed their lives. Throughout the year, I saw amazing changes in Dustin, as he began to see that he was not a failure, and that he could escape the mistakes of the past. At the end of the year, Dustin actually approached me that he wanted to enter an essay contest. He entered, and his essay "Into the Clouds" won, and he won a trip to Washington DC. I shared with you guys that Dustin did not have very nice clothes, and had no pocket money for the trip. You all responded overwhelmingly, and $1,400 was donated in under 24 hours. Dustin did not know that I was trying to find help for him on the trip. The principal called Dustin into his office, and had his mom, and the school councilor there at well. He presented the envelope with the money in it to Dustin. Dustin looked in, and had never seen that much money in his life. He took the envelope, and handed it to the school councilor, and asked her to create a scholarship fund for other students. He kept none of the money himself. He worked chopping wood on the weekends to earn what he needed for the trip.
Dustin was successful in getting into college, and now is in his second semester. He is working on becoming a Certified Wind Technologist, to work on the big Wind Turbines. He has done well and is making all A's and B's in college. I got an email from him last week that I wanted to share with you all, since you were such a big part of his "turnaound" in life, and you helped show him that there could be a bright future.
Last week he made his first "Climb", where he actually went up and worked on a wind turbine. This is especially meaningful if you read his "Into the Clouds" essay. These pictures below truly show a dream come true for this young man.
I love the smile on his face. It is not a skin-deep smile, it is smile that comes pouring out of a joyful heart.
Dustin gives a thumbs up to all the people who encouraged him, and wants you to see that he did finally make it to the top.
I share Dustin's story with you, because your notes of encouragement to the class, and your financial support really changed this young man's life. Also, I share it to remind myself that we can never give up on a student. No matter how bad the situation, no matter how "hard case" a student appears to be, there is always hope, and I need to constantly strive to help the next Dustin find his way.