Thursday, March 12, 2009

A letter from home ...

I found treasure on that island, but it came from home.
Thank you Dan.

From: Vukelich Daniel

To: Voskuil Rick

Subject: The Earth Watch Experience


After taking some time to reflect upon your efforts to travel through the air to a remote tropical location for the purpose of engaging your students in an expedition of research, I’ve come to realize it’s something they will never forget.

From the start you faced many challenges making this happen from the application process, to getting sub coverage, to making sure we had the technology in place to make things happen. Most of the challenges were overcome as you are not one to accept defeat on any level which is part of the reason I’m writing this email today. I both know and realize you felt somewhat let down at the fact your students didn’t receive all that you worked so hard to provided them. However, I assure you they took a lifetime's worth of memories from their/your involvement in this expedition.

I was in the library to bear witness to the day of your transmission. At first, the scene was a bit hectic with seventy plus students entering the room carrying a certain level of electricity and excitement at the fact they were going to see and hear their teacher speaking to them from a place they read and hear about in books. Oh, then you add in the fact that the news crew was there providing students with even more of a reason to believe something “Big” was about to transpire – and they were right. Then, the first transmission….. yet there was no picture on the screen? We quickly dissolved the transmission in hopes of getting the “technology back up and running” so the students could see their teacher….in the mean time an eager energy of anticipation was engulfing the students, teachers, and news crew alike… it was around this time the news crew came over to speak with some of the teachers and stated something along the lines of the cameras most likely wouldn’t roll if the picture problem wasn’t resolved…that was the tragic mistake they made as they packed up their gear and walked out on the true magic that was about to take place.

In comes the second transmission – instantly the entire room gets so quite you could have heard an insect crawling across the carpet. The events that transpired included an interaction between a teacher and his students that neither of you will forget. Stories like those of the lion fish or the shoe stealing island dog. From your cave explorations to your species identifications all while the students hung on your every word. Several different emotions filled our library that day including: laughter, curiosity, fascination, sorrow, and amazement. All parts of the conversation and events leading up to it will forever be both remembered and recalled by your students as a response to the stimulus you have forever planted in their heads as you said “over” after every closing statement you made across the air that day. By the end of our interactions with you the students were saying in chorus “over” as their teacher filled their minds with memories from and island in the sea.

You see I’ve come to realize that even if the camera rolled that day and the events were captured on film and shared with all that turn on a T.V. – it wasn’t about the capture of the event on a surface level as people have short selective memories when it come to most “news”. I’m not saying the time and effort put into making it all happen wasn’t worth while…I’m just saying that long after the public would have forgotten about that news broadcast your students will remember the day Mr. V intrigued and taught them from some location behind the library speakers providing them even more opportunity to open their minds, listen, and visualize their version of the island Mr. V was on…

You truly are a real life “Mr. Wizard” of whom, I have both respect and admiration for. Your teaching practices are as unique as the energy you walk around this campus with…I’m honored I’ve had the opportunity to work with you as well as learn from you over the past few years as your drive is truly about educating the student to a point of understanding their role/impact on the world both today and tomorrow. You truly are one of those teachers the students will remember long from now as I know your class/style will be forever burned into their memories - and that is perhaps one of the things I respect most about you


Daniel Vukelich

7th Grade Science



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