Marvel Sketch Cover Madness: Nova! Plus…Eighth Grade Culmination!
Saturday, my former students will walk across a stage, and receive a Certificate of Completion for Middle School. Believe it or not, this is an Event in the neighborhood of South Central. Where it might be a foregone conclusion in other places, the successful completion of Middle School is kind of a big deal. Special outfits are worn, relatives come from all over the area, parties are thrown. There is quite literally a celebration.
Small cottage industries of street vendors with Graduation items spring up around the school overnight, in much the same way they do at Valentine’s Day.
It’s why I saved the Nova cover. At its heart, Nova is a comic book about a boy who is in high school (I’m speaking to the seventies version here) and gets a helmet, costume and powers that make him a space superhero. He immediately is ushered into a larger world of more interesting things, of cosmic importance. Nova doesn’t always know what these things are, and is often over his head, but his positive attitude and “human rocket” powers usually carry the day.
The blank Nova cover, when it came out about three months back, seemed to ask for that. Our hero proudly looking on while a Nova-suit clad youngster flies off to new things, possibly the weird moon in the background. That’s the point, really, of being a teacher: to prepare to send them off into the world.
Friday was the last day with students, and I sent off my current crop of hooligans. In the past year, they have worked hard, and the majority of them did excellent work. They are friendly, and have grown into thinkers, readers, people with questions. I honestly like them.
This last day…there was an unusual outpouring of them liking me. I mean, I know the kids like me, but today they actually had an organized presentation about it. They wrote me letters, and did artwork, and had an organized sharing out loud of general thanks for all the effort. They said I was funny, that they learned a whole lot, and that essay writing isn’t scary anymore.
Oddly, I had to say to them a similar thing to the culminating students. I promised they could come back from the grade eight building when they needed help, or were in trouble, that I was always going to be their teacher. I also had to make sure they knew that they too had to go on to new classes, new teachers, new things. The kids were oddly reluctant, but knew that I’d be their safety net.
I’m ridiculously proud of the little critters. The whole reason we do the job. It was pretty hard maintaining the same impassive, stern look that our hero does. Honestly, the kids knew that it was tough, and smiled every time they saw me smile a bit, or look touched. Over the year, they have learned to read my expressions as well as I have theirs.
Good kids. In the most unexpected place.
Coming Soon: Summer!