While at MHS, she was greeted in the auditorium with a long ovation from the students, faculty and staff and made some brief remarks. The first thing she said was in reference to the MHS Boys Basketball team, playing that evening in the playoffs. She spoke about her time on the Olympic Team and what it has been like since returning to the United States.
|This is the closest I'll ever be to an Olympic Gold Medal|
What I found most meaningful was one of the last things she said, before exiting the assembly to begin her car ride downtown. She thanked all her teachers for being patient with her, as she acknowledged that she missed a lot of school for her hockey commitments. It may have seemed like a small thing but when I connected with a couple of her teachers afterward it meant a lot.
I remember feeling upset when I got a notice letting me know that students needed to leave my class early, regardless of the reason. Part of that is accepting that so much of teaching in personal - we pour so much of ourselves into our lessons, that it feels in a way like our students are leaving us early when they miss a segment of what we are teaching. And logically, we know that is not true, but it is how we feel.
It would have been very easy for Amanda Pelkey to encourage our Boys Basketball team to victory that night, to share her journey earning an Olympic Gold Medal, tell us all about Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, and Ellen DeGeneres and walk out of the auditorium to her hometown parade. And she chose to be thankful to the teachers who walked with her on her educational journey. And she chose to acknowledge the fact that she missed a lot of school, given her commitment to hockey.
We will have many, many students who will miss parts or entire classes of ours, in pursuit of their passions and honestly, only a rare few will win even participate in the Olympics, let alone win a Gold Medal. I know each and every one of them has the potential to be as great as Amanda Pelkey, in their own way.