Please excuse me for the late post — hoping that everyone, by now, has had a chance to share stories from home and abroad.
As I sit here reflecting on my time in Constanza, with all of you amazing young people, I’ve never felt luckier to have chosen this profession and to have had this opportunity. I learned so much from each and every one of you. My hope for you is that you know this was not some one-off, unique, experimental version of You. It is one, small, incredible part of the amazing lives and journeys you have ahead of you.
From meeting all of you at the airport in the midst of check-in chaos, to proudly presenting our C1B cheer as we waved Angie goodbye in Newark — this journey has been full of unexpected turns and bumps, and your courage, compassion, and commitment have carried you to the end.
Atziry, her parents, and I sat around a table in Denny’s at 3 AM. We were all delirious from the time; her parents even more so from having come to the airport directly from work. Yet, they had graciously offered to drive me home. As I watched them laugh and cry about all they’d missed about each other in these last sixteen days, I realized that the most important parts of this trip were the love, trust, and dedication of all your families. They believed that you could do this trip and come back to be leaders of your communities. They believed that all of their hard work was worth it to make this trip possible for you. They believe in you! And so, like you all shared in your final reflections, I hope that you can show them the love and appreciation you have for all that they do for you.
All of you are about to encounter a new saga in your lives. Based on how you tackled this summer with poise and reflection, I’m confident that even when you hit a bump or an obstacle, you’ll keep calm and push forward. You taught students! You built a playground in three days! You gave and you listened! You wrote, reflected, led, criticized, stepped back, apologized, advocated, laughed, and cried.
I know that it’s hard to be vulnerable at this time in your lives, but I’m proud of you for doing it with these strangers who became your family.
Let me know when you’re graduating (or when your first year of college is up @Madison). I wish you all the best.