One aspect of my job that I love--and realize not everyone gets--is the full circle moment. These girls come to us when they are still babies, fresh out of high school. I get to watch them grow up and discover themselves and the world. Then we send them off--still bright and shiny into the world.
Last night, though, I got to see the circle close a bit more. I had invited my graduates from last year to come back and speak. Be still my heart. I taught many of them in their very first education class. I watched boyfriends become exes or fiances. I listened to them figure out who they were and what they wanted to do. I watched as they figured out how the world works and that maybe it was a little bit bigger than they thought. I saw them finish the program. I helped them find jobs. I launched them all shiny and new into those first teaching jobs.
Last night, they came back. Perhaps a little less shiny and new, but so much stronger and mature. The girls I met came back as these confident, strong leaders that I knew they were, but somehow they owned it now. They spoke honestly with my students with great humor and insight. I couldn't be more proud, and I am so incredibly grateful they are out there fighting the good fight and giving the very best of them to our kiddos.