My school schedule during my last year of at Sandpoint High School had me teaching the first four hours, then going to lunch and finishing off the day with a fifth-period English class made up of about 20 boys and four or five patient girls. Two SHS athletic teams were well represented among the students---the wrestlers and the basketball team.
Well, the basketball team that year didn't do so well, but the wrestlers were invincible as usual. They loved to poke fun at their cager friends who took the good-natured ribbing well. The rest of the class always found venues to enjoy themselves, even if it was to laugh along with the rest of us.
We laughed every day in fifth-hour English. I could not think of a better class to help me remember the joy I had at the end of my career. I loved those kids so much and looked forward to each day's banter, which always involved a two-way street.
A couple of years ago, one of the boys in the class, Chris Reynolds, known for his outstanding devotion to music, died suddenly. Like so many who knew and loved Chris, I was devastated and still can't believe he's gone.
This morning I picked up the Spokesman-Review ( http://www.spokesmanreview.com/local/story.asp?ID=188483)and saw a familiar face, on the front page above the fold. There was Brandon Adam's mug shot, and there answered the question I had while reading Connie Lloyd's blog yesterday: who was that soldier from Sandpoint who lost his legs in Iraq this past Saturday? Connie mentioned meeting his parents who had moved from Sandpoint to Post Falls. I wondered if they were someone I knew.
I did not know the parents, but I did know Brandon. A very likable, wiry young man with blond hair, he sat over by the wall in fifth period. Brandon always joined in on the fun but always respectfully so. After all, we had established a family atmosphere in that class, and everyone loved taking part in the learning and the crazy antics that went along with it.
I have not seen Brandon since I left Sandpoint High School----until this morning of National Teacher Day. Once more, I feel devastated for a young man. In this case, he was serving his second hitch in Iraq. He believed in the mission, and he even emailed his father just before the bombing, which also took the life of a Spokane soldier.
From what Brandon's father says in today's article about Sgt. Adam and from what I know about him from five years ago, he will move forward. He will start a new chapter of his life with a positive attitude. Still, he will need our prayers, and he probably could use some financial support. I see from this morning's paper that a fund has been established in his name at Mountain West Bank.
On this National Teacher Day, I'm once more reminded of the safety net we provide for our kids in school each as they make their way toward an uncertain future in an unpredictable world. I'm also reminded that they never really leave our hearts and, that at moments like this, we feel as close to them as we ever did during the days they sat in our classrooms. In fact, we want to get to the nearest phone, call them up and tell them it's going to be okay.
Good luck to Brandon and many thanks to him for his service and sacrifice for America.