The days leading up to graduation are often a blur. Focused on getting out of school — and consumed by parties, dinners and whatnot — most students just move on.
Some do spend time reflecting. A few thank one or two teachers, for their help or guidance.
Jaime Bairaktaris did more. Before graduating yesterday from Staples High School, the EMT/Earthplace teacher/photographer hand-delivered notes.
Not just a couple, or even a few. Jaime wrote to nearly 90 people. He wrote every teacher he ever had, from kindergarten through middle school in Redding, and his 4 years at Staples.
He wrote to principals, assistant principals, grade level assistants. He even thanked me for influencing him, through my writing and our conversations.
Jamie calls it “a type of closure on my part.” I call it remarkable.
In his notes — each of which included a hand-written, personal thank-you at the end, and was printed on hard stock paper, suitable for framing — Jaime said that he’d spent 2,528 days in school: “nearly 40% of my entire life sitting behind a desk, on a carpet, at a computer, on a swing, on a bus, holding a pencil, biting a pencil, laughing, crying, talking, thinking, learning.”
Through learning, he was taught “how to read, write, speak, count, add, subtract, multiply, divide, apologize, hate, wish, dream, think, act, run, jump, play, throw, belong, love, help, care.”
Every teacher, he said, taught him something:
Things that are so commonly simple, yet so vital to life. I have been taught things so complex that I’m told only time will surely show me how they work. But for everything I have been taught, I am extremely grateful. Without people like you, I would not be where I am today.
Jaime concluded: “After 2,528 days, you did it. With the knowledge you’ve given me, you’ve changed my life. Thank you for teaching.”