“The” Invitation From a Former Student

I got an invitation most every teacher dreams about.  But first I need to tell you about this student:

I remember my students.  I love them.  Some stick with me more than others, and Colin was one of those students.  He was always smiling and laughing.  He adored Milly the quilter, and he was quite the artist.  Back in 2016 his masterpiece for the Art Show was incredible, a replication of a Claude Monet.

The next year, his art masterpiece was equally incredible.  He nailed Kandinsky.  Colin’s talents went beyond art.  He loved music and singing.  When I brought my record player into school, he was spellbound by musicals.  I played my Rodgers and Hammerstein records; “The King and I”, “The Sound of Music”, and “Oklahoma” were his favorites.

We had a grand circus performance for families that year.  It was so much fun for children.  They were tigers, poodles, clowns, and acrobats.  Guess who was the ringmaster?  Yup, Colin.

That’s the backstory of Colin when he was in my class.  Fast forward to today.

His mother emailed me the day after Colin had been cast as the lead in the fourth grade musical, “Oliver.”  Yes, Colin was Oliver.  She asked if I would come to the show, ‘since I was such an inspiration to Colin in his early singing days’.  Oh my!  And, she wanted me to be a surprise for Colin.  Yes, this is the invitation teachers dream about.

Here is Colin’s photo on the billboard.
My goodness, he has grown:

When I arrived for the show, his mother was waiting to greet me.  I was invited to sit with the family, including grandparents from Virginia.  Honestly, Mom and Dad were over the moon that I was there.  I was, too.

The show’s staging and props were elaborate, more like a high school performance.  The lights went down, the show started, and here is Colin’s solo, “Where is love?”:

Yes, he was wonderful!  Pitch perfect, heartfelt singing.  After the show came the surprise for Colin- me!  Mom had her camera ready.

I was out of control.  Colin was beside himself.  We were one.

When students remember, it is a treasure for a teacher.  My heart is full.  Thank you, Colin.


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty 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 am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
This entry was posted in art, Expressing words and feelings, Giving thanks, Inspiration, joy, Love, music, play performances, Singing, Student alumni, The Arts and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

107 Responses to “The” Invitation From a Former Student

  1. Ritu says:

    How lovely, Jennie 🤗

  2. Don Ostertag says:

    What a thrill, Jennie! Get his autograph now before he hits the big time.

  3. beth says:

    so wonderful, the best!

  4. Bravo, Colin!! Applause, applause!

  5. quiall says:

    How rewarding to see what he has become!

  6. Great story, Jennie.

  7. frenchc1955 says:

    Hi Jennie, thank you for sharing this wonderful story with us!

  8. Darlene says:

    How special. This must have made your heart sing!!

  9. Darlene says:

    And what a fantastic voice for one so young. xo

  10. beetleypete says:

    What a joy! When he is starring on Broadway, I am sure he will get you a VIP ticket, Jennie. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

  11. That was wonderful. So happy for both of you. The joy of being a special teacher

  12. Oh Jennie… I read this, between wiping tears to see your words… Such joy and those photos.. Amazing…. Well done to Colin and it just confirms to me what a fantastic teacher you are…
    Wonderful…. You also filled My Heart Jennie.. just reading… ❤ ❤ ❤
    Thank you for sharing .. ❤

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Sue. My heart is still full with joy, and I’m so glad it filled your heart. It was a very special event for me. Aren’t the old photos precious?

  13. willedare says:

    Wonderful story! Wonderful singing! Wonderful relationship between teacher and student and student’s family! Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah!

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Will! You know how much I love music, and introduce it to my preschoolers. To think that he has gone from loving my old Rodgers and Hammerstein record albums to being the lead in a musical. My, my! Yes, I echo all of your hurrahs. Surely I am the luckiest teacher in the world.

  14. Beyond beautiful, Colin and Jennie… 💞

  15. Kendall says:

    I LOVE this!!! I will be a first year teacher in August (7th and 8th) and your posts make me strong when I am nervous. Colin sounds incredible!

  16. petespringerauthor says:

    These are some of the best moments of teaching, especially when a student or their parents want you to be a part of their big moments. To see them in their element and doing something that brings them joy is the best! I’m looking forward to attending the wedding of one of my former third-grade students in September.

    • Jennie says:

      Yes, yes!! These are the best moments. How lucky we are to be part of our students’ lives long after they have left our class. Joy is the perfect word. How exciting to be going to a wedding in September!

  17. Oh my, Jennie. That song brought tears to my eyes. What a fabulous voice and presence Colin has. He’s going to go as far as he wants to in life. And you helped light the fire. Thanks so much for sharing. ❤ ❤

  18. Wow, he’s good! What an exciting reunion for you both! 💗

  19. What a wonderful meeting, Jennie! He sounds wonderful, and you can feel honored to made all this possible! xx Michael

  20. Ren says:

    Thank you for the tears of Joy, Jennie. Bless you for all that you are and all that you do for others!!!

  21. dgkaye says:

    You are so loved by all your students Jennie. A beautiful song. ❤

  22. Sam says:

    That’s amazing and what a great teacher and lady you must be!

  23. The joy of being a teacher at its best.

  24. Thotaramani says:

    Really appreciate you Jennie! You treat the students as own kids. God bless you with all the happiness of the life.

  25. bosssybabe says:

    This post really warmed my heart, Jennie! What a wonderful surprise and a talented young man he turned out to be! 🙂 Life is so full of joy! 🙂

  26. Jennie your post is so beautiful and lovely. You treat your students as your children. Thanks a lot.

  27. HI Jennie, I love the musical of Oliver and young Colin has done this song proud. What a wonderful time for you.

  28. Pingback: “The” Invitation From a Former Student – Photo cloth

  29. WebbBlogs says:

    Wow he was fantastic! This is such a beautiful post, what a wonderful moment for you both. 😁

  30. festo_sanjo says:

    What a remarkable surprise. And dreams come true for colin.

  31. What an amazing story!! I am 52 and remember almost every one of the teachers I had in school. I am lucky enough to still be friends with many of them.

    I was a band student and my friendship with my high school band director lasted right up until he passed away two years ago. He was a wonderful mentor and friend.

    I just stumbled on your blog, but will be following it. Thank you for what you do! Teachers are SO important. You make a difference. The story of Colin is proof!

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you! Your story is also proof of how important teachers are. You are fortunate to have had many wonderful teachers. I’m so glad I’m a teacher!

      • Toward the end of high school, I wanted to teach. I stumbled into a radio job before I could go to college, so I did that for years.

        I have had the opportunity to do some presentations at school career days, as well as teach a class or two at the college I attended for my sleep program. I loved it and wish I had pursued it.

        I have a few blogs on my site dedicated to those teachers who impacted my life. I hope that they knew how much they made a difference.

      • Jennie says:

        That is wonderful!

  32. Poetry Goddess says:

    Awe i love stage plays! I used to play as Annie back in 2001

  33. Pingback: “The” Invitation From a Former Student – Mind of Marie

  34. Cebo mchunu says:

    Heartwarming story 😍

  35. growthspurt says:

    Check out my blog! I’m a teacher too

  36. My Rollercoaster Journey says:

    This is so heartwarming

  37. Dan Antion says:

    Such a treat for you both. I am so glad they invited you, Jennie!

  38. Carla says:

    Wow, what a talent from such a young man. Oliver is one of my favourites, as I was in it in gradeschool, many years ago. You and he were very lucky to share this experience, even if he didn’t know you were there until after.

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