If I learned nothing but this, it has been the most valuable lesson. When I was at Seaford High, I had some of the best colleagues that surrounded me to remind me, every single day, that to keep an open mind and respect everyone around me is something more valuable than anything in life. The students I met in my courses reminded me that part of being a role model is to stand up for your nationality, your beliefs, but also respecting others in the process.
When I moved to Mexico, it was unexpected. Even more so was the reception. My colleagues, students, and what would become my family reminded me, that the individuals I have grown up with, in high school, in Pennsylvania, in Maryland, in Delaware, and especially in Mexico, how much I need to remember- I need at many many times to get out my own persona and ego and walk in other’s shoes and do something to look through other’s eyes. What was unexpected was the motivation to encourage others to be the very best they can be, and alongside doing that you can be motivated to promote your own country, along with other countries, and respect each other’s possibilities in the process. I am lucky to have the same at Woodbridge High with exciting adventures in recreating the library, a sense of community with so many that do that already, recreating the love of XC, Repentino. and so much more.
I never realized how amazing the students and colleagues that surrounded me in Mexico were, teachers and students from Canada, the U.S., Mexico, South America, the Middle East, Europe, the Far East, and so many other places – and this letter this morning – solidified how lucky I have been to have had you influence me in so many ways I never knew existed – your embrace and encouragement are priceless and always help me Pay it Forward.
“Hey Harry Brake, my bro, my favorite teacher of all time, the Cristiano Ronaldo of teachers (lol jk):
I wanted to say a few things before I start college tomorrow. First of all, I can’t begin to express how thankful I am for meeting you! You’re one of the best individuals on this planet, I am serious haha. You have always filled me with positive energy and I am really thankful for that. Most importantly, you have showed me to work collectively (shoutout to Repentino) and to evaluate myself whenever I need to. This is skill that will help me throughout life, I have no doubt.
I apologize if we haven’t spoken much since you left Mexico. The truth is that I am not much of a Facebook, or email guy for that matter HAHA. But trust me, I think about you and the experiences we shared every now and then. My favorite memories with you are the trip to New York (March 2016) and the trip to Las Estacas (September 2016). Those have been some of the best moments in my life, honestly.
I am starting a new journey at ITAM very soon. I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I am sure that the things you taught me will come in handy. I am glad to say that you have been a role model for me.
I truly wish you the best for the future. You can count on me whenever you need to. After all Batman needs Robin, occasionally at least. We have to go for tacos when you come back to Mexico!”
Harry, you are a pleasure to know as a professional colleague. We have never taught together, After my official retirement, you gave me the opportunity to share with your students another aspect of those persecuted during the Holocaust, to which most have never been exposed. You even followed up the lesson! Your dedication, willingness to be equitable, open-mindedness, and ability to respect differences is a quality that does not come natural to many educators. You have these qualities “on lock-down,” as students might say. They are qualities that command respect in our profession. Thank you for being such an excellent example of “Educator Magna Cum Laude.”
Wow. Thank you so so so much! I appreciate the kind words so much! I learned so so much through so many experiences, workshops, and summer seminars I had involving the Holocaust.
WOW! Thank you so so much Tyna! Such nice comments – I am honored thank you so much!