Ironic title given the nature of the series, I know.
The subject of this chapter is about a very special and unique collection of REAL MEN; the collection of students I have had the privilege to teach the past couple of years.
“The Boys” is the term I always affectionately used referring to this cluster of exceptional young men that I spent all of my professional time with during my brief, but incredibly meaningful chapter, of my professional life at Lowell High School.
After nearly twenty years in the private sector of the business world, I was at a crossroads in my career. Uncertain of exactly what I wanted to do next, I was afforded the opportunity to teach in the Life Skills program within the Special Education department at my alma mater. With a teenage son impacted by autism, I understand this population quite well, but by no means as an educator. Nonetheless, the fine folks on Father Morrisette Boulevard took a chance on me and I am eternally grateful for that confidence.
And the next thing you know, I was off. All of a sudden, I was a “teacher”. I was surrounded by a wonderful and supportive team guiding me through my early days and in the relative short term, I found my groove in the classroom.
What I quickly learned was what an amazing, kind, considerate and diverse cohort of young men (yes, my crew was comprised of all boys for the majority of the school day) I had the privilege to spend my work day with each day.
Ages 16-21, I was responsible to help prepare these “boys” for the next steps in their lives. While most of these students are not equipped with the tools for a college career, they are certainly capable individuals with so much to offer the world.
“The Boys” and I covered a lot of ground during our days at school. From the basic lessons of daily living, to self-care and health to pre-vocational and career preparedness.
We were the “Job Gang” of Lowell High School.
We delivered the mail around the campus.
We cleaned up cluttered classrooms and offices.
We cooked and delivered meals when needed (including a Thanksgiving dinner and St. Patrick’s Day feast for all comers).
These individuals are forever enthusiastic and eager to impress and please their teachers and peers alike.
You will never walk by The Boys without being on the receiving end of a genuine smile, a hard high five (or a fist bump in Covid Culture) and a very energetic “Hello“.
While each labeled with a “disability” I can confidently proclaim that these gentlemen bring so very much to the proverbial table each and every day.
They love coming to school.
They love to learn.
They love to be a part of this nearly 200 year old institution.
These “Boys” make Lowell High School, our community and the world-at-large a better place.
They are a gift; certainly have been to my life.
Although I am moving on to a new chapter of my professional journey, I can’t imagine a more meaningful time.
I was blessed to teach, and LEARN from, them.
Thank youfor everything, fellas! You’re truly the best.