Those of us in the education world have been told over and over again (if we have been lucky) that we will never know the depth of impact we have upon another human being. Our world is one of delayed gratification. While I loathe to bring politics into this post there is no question that the “trickle down” effect aptly describes what my students in the UDMB experience. For those of us in the business of education that is mixed with providing entertainment for others know that we will never truly know the impact we have upon another person…except in those very rare, serendipitous cases.
Saturday, November 19, 2016 was the final UD home football game. It was Senior Day. That day each year is hard enough to get through but when you couple it with being 11 days post op from shoulder surgery, temperatures that start in the 50’s during rehearsal then soar into the 70’s by kickoff and then drop into the upper 40’s midway through halftime…challenging may be the best word to describe the experience.
With 3 minutes left on the game clock a decision had to be made: post game show or no post game show. Radar showed a massive storm cell over Baltimore heading in our direction. Winds were already gusting as strong as 30 mph. Forecast was for 45-55 mph winds once the storm front arrived…and all of that was about 40 minutes away. We decided to cancel the full band post game show and move directly to the traditional Senior Show followed by “In My Life.” It was becoming more and more dangerous to stay in the stadium.
When everything was over, photos taken, tears shed, hugs given, everyone raced for their cars or the buses and Thanksgiving Break was underway. It was a lackluster farewell to the seniors of 2016…but most certainly chaotic. A word I believe is appropriate for this particular graduating class.
Later that evening I received an email from on of my percussion staff members. He wrote to tell me that while the seniors were performing he saw a lone football player, still suited up, standing in the end zone. He was alone. And he was watching the senior show. He approached Jason when the seniors were finished, and introduced himself. He was #14: Simba Gwashavanhu. Simba was also a senior.
Simba asked Jason if he would thank all the seniors and the full band for a great four years. He went on to say how much he appreciated and enjoyed everything the band did.
To the outsider it may not seem like much. To others it may seem unimaginable. To me it is the purest example of: “You have the greatest opportunity of anyone else in your school to have a positive lasting impact upon the lives of others.”
Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and thank you Simba (#14).