Ode to Papa Joe!

“Hey Mr. Brake! I just wanted to let you know that having us comprehend stories from the Norton reader in 11th grade has helped me tremendously in my college writing class! That’s all I do is read, comprehend, and then write about it!”

Let me first get this straight – every teacher has died to hear a comment like this at one point in their life. When I received this today, I wanted to reach through the internet and hug my former student forever! Aside from feeling smug, I was glad I did some things that helped students and did not seem a waste of time, or just ditto pushing. Then I realized this was deeper than the surface. After participating in Digital Literacy Day’s AMAZING Webcast, and talking with teachers from all over the world live, I realized, and questioned, “How did I come what I have become?”

Being an intern for the Pittsburgh Pirates was AMAZING, seeing myself surrounded in Mexico by awesome SRU graduates and alumni is mind blowing, but seeing a former student of mine, sitting in the desk where I was, say, 9-12 years ago, I mean, it i hard to wrap my head around it, but I miss them all so badly, those that inspired. Leading that pack was Dr. Joe McCarren, Dr. Boggs, Dr. Permenter,Dr. DiMarco, Dr. Zeiger, DR. Strickland (both!) and AT LEAST five more instructors that influenced me way more than I would ever know or realize. Check out the letter I wrote to Dr. McCarren and you will get a glimpse of what an amazing education I received: Papa Joe and SRU’s tribute of thanks! – HOLA  PAPA JOE

I look back and amazed at how lucky I have been, with jobs, friends, family, and just wow – I complained so much when I was in DE and yet, I had and have – so many things to be thankful for. Just being a a part of so many teachers across the nation today in a live web cast, the successes I received, the inspiration I received from my teachers at SRU – I could have continued on a path I had begun to walk at Edinboro of partying it up, and just living the good life, yet, something clicked, my family helped me when I made mistakes, and my family at SRU took me in and truly saved my life, and I didn’t know it until I was so wrapped up in success from my professors, I was reeling 10 years later thinking, “Wow, bad things happen, but look at how lucky I have been!”

I love my resume and add to it almost once a month, but this makes me proud to see that each accomplishment is an honor I learned from someone, somewhere in my life. Almost all can be traced back to my former students, former professors, and my family. I do not think there is much more to brag about when you have those three supporting you all your life. On the verge of exciting initiatives like P2PU, and so much more I can’t even imagine at this point, I am so excited to be a Rock Alumni!

So – Cassie and Papa Joe, the essay I love,The Rings Around Us as well as my novel of a Vitae, 2011 vitae

is dedicated to you today, for helping me remember, yes, teaching is sometimes a grueling occupation, however, the memories, the accomplishments, and the satisfaction keeps coming back forever, if you do it right. Thanks so much for reminding me of that each and every day, and letting me “Pass it Forward” and staying in touch with letting others share that! 🙂


About Harry Brake

Employee of Woodbridge High School, Library Media Specialist, Media crazy! :)
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