Friday PeopleIt is natural when you teach to become close with some students.  There is no group of students in my teaching career that means more to me than my “Friday” People.  First they are called that because when they left the junior high school and went to the high school they would come to see me normally on Fridays; this got me out of a few junior high dances; another reason that they earn my thanks.

I can honestly say that I truly love these kids (even though they have all graduated from college, except for Tiernan who may never leave academia and Julia who has returned to school for a Masters) as family.  I have shed tears at every phase of their lives and, luckily, they have continued to include me in theirs.

  • (Far Left).  Meghan (Cross) Krueger.  I have not known many people as sweet and kind as Meghan.  She might be the world’s nicest person, but what separates her is her servant’s heart.  After college and securing her first “big-girl” job, she gave it all up to work for Redeemed Ministries; an ministry dedicated to those trapped in horrors of human trafficking.  Many who claim to be Christian have left out the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in their daily lives, because they are the tough books to live up to; there is a lot of stuff about loving your fellow man, working to end suffering, putting others ahead of yourself…the tough stuff.  Every day I am proud of my former Student of the Year; she has been an inspiration for me.
  • (Second from the left). Julia Mathews.  Julia was my Student of the Year, Yearbook Editor, Camp Tecumseh counselor, Queen of the “One-Liner”, and fellow lover of Chili Cheese Corn Chips.  Julia was for me the hub of the Friday people; as it was through her that nearly everyone else connected.  Julia through junior high and high school was a lynch pin for me; whatever needed to be done, she would get done.  She also receives some extra love for introducing me to Marvin’s at Depauw. Plus when she is mad, she types really loud (inside joke for the Friday people).
  • (Third from the left). Tiernan Kane or “T-mail” from long ago.  Tiernan and I had a little bit of a rocky start together; his procrastination and my desire for him to give me his best work collided a bit early on; but, while he still procrastinates, he has gotten better at covering it up.  Tiernan is brilliant, opinionated, and verbose; so it makes for great sport.  I love talking politics with him.  Tiernan is bound to live a life grounded in academia; someday, he will teaching at the college level with a side of policy wonk .
  • (Center).  Brad Pitt.  The former heartthrob has let himself go in the last couple years and without the makeup artists in Hollywood he has a completely different look.  Maybe it is all those kids.
  • (Third from the right). Natalie Mathews.  My favorite student that I never taught.  I never taught Natalie, but we spent so much time together with yearbook during junior high that I tell everyone that she was my student.  Natalie is the person that gets us together.  I was honored to be invited to her and Trent’s wedding and she made me ugly cry when she included a reading from a Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet  that I had given her years before.
  • (Second from the right).  Kylie Christensen.  Big city girl living in small town Fishers.  She always said that she would live in New York; and today she lives in Gotham working in the Film industry after graduating from NYU.  Kylie weaves the long stories that make me laugh.  Kylie does not get back much now, but I had a chance to talk to her at Natalie’s wedding and she is still the girl I remember and love.
  • (Far right).  Erica Viar.  The anti-cheerleader stereotype (another Friday people inside joke).  Erica does not know how to not be successful; she wanted to major in business after high school and get accepted to the Kelley School at IU, decides to add a law degree on top of that so she graduates from IU Law School a month ago.  Last we talked she had a job offer with a company that she interned.  When we get a chance to meet for coffee she always seems to be moving forward; there is always the next big milestone to be achieved.

Now these kids are all adults now and the weddings have started.  No matter where they go my heart travels with them.  They made my Fridays wonderful for a couple years and my days sweeter when they could visit or call.   It seems fitting to modify a quote from Khalil Gibran’s chapter about Friendship.   “And a youth said, “Speak to us of Friendship.”  Your friends are your needs answered.  They are your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.  And they are your board and your fireside.”  Thank you my friends.