Then the electronic essays and images begin rolling in to my Google inbox. I become a weepy mess of tears.
I don't cry from frustration at the volume of sixth-grade-level writing I have to grade, as might be imagined. The students have taken great pains to edit their work multiple times, carefully reading every suggestion I made. I cry from the incredible spirituality that pours forth from each and every article. I get to read about the local heroes. I read about grandfathers who share their love of humanity with their grandchild. I read about famous politicians (we have some MAJOR power players in this year's paper) who have taken time out of their busy schedule to talk openly and honestly with young people. I read about soldiers, doctors, teachers, therapists, coaches, volunteers. Amid the chaos and fear-inducing nightly news runs a steady and stabilizing energetic force of role models. Around every corner, in every neighborhood is someone doing his or her best to be the change we want to see in our world. By doing so, by living the example, our young people are learning how to live. Pardon me as I grab another tissue.