The Student’s Letter…and More

Roshan visiting four years ago.

I am always surprised when I hear from a former student.  This letter from Roshan made my day:

Dear Ms. Jennie,

How are you doing? This is Roshan. I am currently in 12th grade this year – school starts next week and I’ve opted to go in person, so I’m excited to see what school will be like. This school year I’m also looking to do my Eagle Scout project this year. For my project I am hoping to lead a team of scouts to interview 10-15 veterans in Groton and submit the interviews to the Library of Congress in order to preserve their stories. The Library of Congress has a project called the Veterans’ History Project which I’m hoping these interviews can be a part of. Do you know any veterans in Groton who may be interested in taking part? I am still in the planning stages of my project and I’m trying to come up with a socially-distanced way for interviewing, but I’m hoping to start sometime this fall. Please let me know what you think.

Thank you,

You could have blown me over with a feather.  Veteran’s interviews to be preserved at the Library of Congress?  How noble.

When Roshan was a preschooler in my class, I thought he might become an artist,  He had the hands.  He had the mind.  The private school he now attends is outstanding.  He also had the interest.  Picasso’s painting, Three Musicians, is a case in point.

Every spring we learn about art and the old masters, in earnest.  This is exciting for children, who are natural artists.  Picasso said, “It took me a lifetime to paint like a child.”  This is also the first step in preparation for our annual art show for the community.

Roshan was especially taken with Three Musicians.  The geometric shapes connected with him, and he began to create a horse (I remember it was yellow) that resembled Picasso’s masterpiece.  It was incredible!  I told his parents and encouraged them to have the painting framed- which they did.

I should have known.  Art is math.  Roshan is currently ‘Mr. Math’ at school.  Now I understand how the early years, rich in art, were a foundation for his strong math skills.

Years later I was invited to Roshan’s house for dinner, along with two other teachers.  It was a lovely meal of authentic Indian cuisine.  After dinner, Roshan wanted to play the piano for everyone.  He played “Tarantella” by Albert Pieczonka.  Seriously.  We were all thunderstruck.

Again, I should have known.  Music, like art, is grounded in math.

I replied to Roshan’s letter:

Hi Roshan!

It is so good to hear from you.  You are doing a fine thing for your Eagle Scout project. Thank you! Those stories need to be recorded and remembered.  Whether it is a heroic action, or an everyday story – they are all important.

Let me give you an example: I talked to Bonnie at the front desk, as her fellow was in the Air Force.  He was only in for a year, so she didn’t that was important.  But, he was in Vietnam repairing aircraft.

I am working on a list for you.  Roshan, thank you again for doing this.  I’m sure you have contacted the local VFW.  I will get names to you.  I’m very proud of you!

Thank you,

And, Roshan replied to me:

Hi Jennie,

Thank you so much for your response! I totally agree that both the heroic actions and everyday stories are important, and I hope to capture a wide range of experiences through all the interviews; it would be so cool to interview Bonnie’s fellow!  If there are any other people you know who may be interested, it would be great if you could give me their contact info.

Thank you so much for your support.  Best wishes,

Our correspondence continues.  I will be invited to attend his Eagle Scout ceremony.  I can only imagine the wonderful road of life ahead for Roshan.

“Oh, the Places You’ll Go” -Dr. Seuss- 


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty-five years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I was a live guest on the Kelly Clarkson Show. I am highlighted in the seventh edition of Jim Trelease's million-copy bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital, and the Massachusetts State House in Boston.
This entry was posted in America, art, Early Education, Giving thanks, history, Inspiration, Math, military, music, patriotism, preschool, Quotes, Student alumni, The Arts and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

72 Responses to The Student’s Letter…and More

  1. beth says:

    oh, how incredibly beautiful. these relationships through the years are everything

  2. beetleypete says:

    Such a reward for your early years of caring and encouragement. What a fine young man Roshan has become.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  3. Ritu says:

    This is just heartwarming 💜

  4. Great to stay in conctact, and a great reward for your work too, Jennie! Congratulations to you, an d Roshan. Enjoy your day! Michael

  5. srbottch says:

    Wonderful! Wonderful! I’m willing to bet that the Eagle Scout accomplishment will be only one of many in this young man’s life. Good for him.

    • Jennie says:

      I think you are right about Roshan. I can’t wait to learn more about his project. I gave him half a dozen good contacts. I will try not to cry at the Eagle Scout ceremony, whenever that may be. Thank you, Steve.

  6. How wonderful. I am impressed with how you remember details from your former students. That is special.

  7. GP Cox says:

    I am impressed, VERY impressed, but not at all surprised that a student of yours has such principles. Thank you for letting us know about Roshan!!

  8. Fine fellow this Roshan. Plus, he’s finding ways to live ‘in the new normal’ and still achieve his goals – one of which is his eagle scout designation. You’ve helped shape the generation that will help shape our post-COVID society, Jennie.

  9. What a heartwarming and inspiring story! Reading stories about young people like Roshan gives me hope for the future. And it’s obvious that the early education paved the way.

  10. Jim Borden says:

    the best part of being a teacher are these connections! I wish Roshan the best…

  11. Opher says:

    It is so nice to know that you play such an important part in peoples’ lives.

  12. Dan Antion says:

    I think it’s wonderful that your former students keep in touch and reach out to you for help. They know you well.

  13. Darlene says:

    These letters must be like gold for you, Jennie. It is the gold at the end of the rainbow. What a clever, responsible and creative young man Roshan has become after such a great start in your class. So nice he has kept in touch. xo

  14. K.L. Hale says:

    You and Roshan are the best examples of education + heart = success. What an amazing young man and teacher.

  15. quiall says:

    It is the ‘ordinary’ stories that show us where our Heroes come from. You had a hand in shaping this young Hero.

  16. That is a very fortunate young man who has parents that help lead his education in all directions and teachers who see the wonder in him. That is an amazing painting for a child. And he plays piano as well. Wow. He is a tip of your iceberg. You have had monumental impact on so many children that this is really no surprise to me. Keep us posted.

    • Jennie says:

      Well said, Marlene. Thanks so much! The photo of the painting is actually Picasso’s ‘Three Musicians’, the piece of art that inspired Roshan. I wish I had a photo of the one he made. That was back in the day when we didn’t have the luxury of grabbing a phone to take a photo at any moment. I’ve always said if I can make a small difference in the life of a child, that’s as good as it gets. 🙂

  17. People like you and Roshan give me hope that all is not lost!

  18. This generation Z really is amazing, Jennie. They are going to change the world. They are kind and considerate and passionate about saving the planet and accepting others.

  19. Oh, the places they go, the amazing things they do, the joy they bring and the lessons they continue to teach us all… Kudos to Roshan for embarking on on his Eagle project and to you and all who continue to encourage Roshan and all of our students in so many ways each day! ❤ Wishing everyone a blessed and beautiful year!

  20. I think it a great testimony to your dedication that students return for continued learning experiences. Thanks for sharing, Jennie.

  21. Elizabeth says:

    How amazing to realize that the veterans he is going to interview are my age! First I thought of course of WWll veterans before I realized that to him my cohort is old. Great to know that their stories are being recorded and archived.

    • Jennie says:

      I feel the same way. How weird that they’re our age! Most of the contacts I gave him are Vietnam era. I do hope he contacts our local VFW, as there may be some WWII veterans to interview. That would be wonderful. Such an important thing to do!

  22. petespringerauthor says:

    They never forget, and we never forget them. I had dinner this week with one of my old sixth-graders. I had not seen my student since he was in junior high, but we had reconnected lately and made a plan to meet. This week I’m hoping to have lunch with one of my second-graders, a junior in college.

    How special that Roshan reached out to you! What a great project! I especially like both of your comments regarding heroic actions and everyday stories. Sometimes the real heroes are the ones working hard so that their children can have a better life.

    • Jennie says:

      Your words are true; they never forget, and we never forget them. I am so glad to hear of your student connections. They keep happening. That means you’re still giving them ‘good stuff’. It’s the little things that are really the big things. Just wonderful, Pete!

      I was thrilled that Roshan reached out to me. My favorite words to him were the same ones you liked. It’s the everyday heroes, much like how the little things are really the big things. Thanks so much, Pete.

  23. frenchc1955 says:

    Hi Jennie, this is wonderful!

  24. Norah says:

    How wonderfully affirming, Jennie. Even when you know the impact you make with your work, it is always wonderful to receive the recognition in ways like this.

  25. it is always moving to see children who you had in the past come back and try and connect with you. Those early years are so important in the foundation of the love of learning. Sounds like you helped foster a great love in this young man

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you so much, Lori. I always feel moved when past children are a presence. The early years are the important years. I am lucky to be part of those early years.

  26. I share the feeling of love coming back at you. Your share lifts my heart to a big smile.

  27. dgkaye says:

    You’re an iconic legend to all your students Jennie! What a lovely boy. ❤

  28. You did great job. Knowing is likings then and helping to strengthen him now. Both. I guess such teachers should exist all-over! Kind and helpful😇👍

  29. A teacher is like a gardener. They both plant seeds and hopes it finds purchase.
    You have a great garden Jennie!

  30. dolphinwrite says:

    Thank you for the work you do. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s