An Earned Prize

When I graduated from high school in that section in the yearbook where graduates share their future dreams, I wrote that I hoped to someday win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

My dream to change the world through story.

I published a bit of poetry, wrote my thesis as a narrative, dabbled in prose, but I know deep in my bones the euphoria of living alongside students as they come to know themselves as writers.

This week a student of mine earned the Currie-Hyland Prize for poetry, one of the most prestigious awards given to a high school student in Saskatchewan. And he earned it.

He writes well. Words that ruffle our rootedness.

But the award was messy. He has trouble accepting praise. When the magazine arrived I told him I would be sharing his honour the next day publicly over morning announcements.

And I did. And the sharing still bothered him. ~He is bright. And I am honest. The sharing wasn’t only for him. It was also for me.

The sharing of the award conveyed, in some small way too, that through my student’s challenges to navigate traditional senior ELA courses there lives a brilliant mind, brilliant poet, and most importantly, a capable learner.

And this, I know, is my Nobel Prize. It always has been. When students achieve success. When students achieve belonging, independence, mastery, & generosity, my inner world steps up to cheer.

So. Now we educators run full-out towards June. We find creative ways to help students meet outcomes with fidelity, and I wonder, in all of our work, what is our hope for students? And is it a poetic-run towards their Nobel or ours?

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One thought on “An Earned Prize

  1. Sounds like you and he earned the bigger, less known prize, the noble one. There’s bravery and strength in this story that I’d hope will stay with him forever. There’s lots of learnings there.

    And you left out that three other of your students were also published and recognized, another set of noble prizes.

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