I cannot believe that Taylor is finishing 8th grade next week & preparing to enter High School in the fall. My son has been through a lot over the years. My son has had to grow up faster then he should have. He's already lived an entire lifetime (emotionally & mentally) in the past 14 years of his life. He is trying to find the balance between being a teenager & feeling like he's older then he really is. I'm just trying to get him to focus on today & not the future. He likes to point out how many years before he graduates. I like to point out that he has to focus or he won't graduate on time.
Taylor & I have been through many different phases of life over the years. Now he is going to start a whole new phase of his life & I can't wait to see what God has in store for him. I still can't believe that in a few short weeks my son will be a Freshman in high school. Time flies way to fast!
I want to take a moment to thank a few of the amazing teachers he has had over the years. These teachers have helped Taylor out more than they will ever know & more then I can ever express. Being a teacher can be difficult & thankless a lot of the time (I've seen it firsthand working in the elementary school over the years). I know that I am guilty of not taking time to thank these amazing teachers in person, so I want to say thank you to them now. I don't know if they will read this, but I want the world to know how much they mean to me.
Valerie Gorter (Taylor's 1st-grade teacher)
Thank You so much for all of the love you showered on my son while he was in your class. You helped Taylor to flourish & grow. I will never forget Taylor's birthday that year when you let me interrupt your day when Taylor's Grandpa came home early from his deployment. I still love watching the video I took that day of the birthday surprise. The love you have for each of your students, year after year, is felt as soon as they walk into your classroom. Thank You for taking time at the beginning of the year to call me & ask me how you could help Taylor. You took the time to really listen to the struggles our family was going through with my husband's illness. Thank You for taking that into consideration when Taylor was having a tough day in class. I could always tell when you showered him with a little extra love & support. God blessed Taylor by putting him in your class that year. I pray that God will continue to bless you & your family!
Cynthia Flak (Taylor's 4th-grade teacher with Mr. Burton)
Thank You for letting Taylor be a 4th-grader & be a boy! I know that sounds funny, but I also know that you understand what I mean. Thank You for taking the time needed with him & helping him to flourish through that year. He made the mistakes every 4th-grade boy makes, but you never made him feel out of place or ashamed of them. I'm sure you are enjoying your retirement from teaching & I'm so thankful that Taylor got to have you as his teacher before you retired. I pray that God will continue to bless you!
Mark Burton (Taylor's 4th-grade teacher with Mrs. Flak)
Thank You for being you! Taylor loved having you as his teacher. Every time Taylor reads, sees or hears something having to do with the Civil War he mentions you. He also mentions you whenever a crazy joke is told. Thank You for being strict with him when he needed it. Thank You for being a man that he looks up to & admires. Thank You for being a friend to me & for all of the laughs before, during and after lunch at SE. My stomach still hurts when I think of some of our discussions, our pranks & our jokes. I pray that God will continue to bless you as you work with students. I pray that God will bless you & your wife!
Paula Dykstra (Taylor's 4th & 5th-grade Principal)
Thank You for loving my son. Thank You for seeing his potential & encouraging him to achieve it. You are a wonderful person & I am thankful that I was able to work with you before you retired as principal. I pray that God will continue to bless you & your family!
Cindy Prentler, Kelly Hammontree and Kelly Kievit (Taylor's 6th-grade teachers)
Thank You does not seem like enough to express how grateful I am for each of you. Taylor had a tough time during his 6th-grade year as his dad's health declined. I know that each of you took time to check on him & just show him support. Thank You for being the encouragement he needed at school. I will always be grateful for the love each of you showered on my son! I pray that God will continue to bless each of you as you continue to teach. I also pray that God will bless each of you beyond comprehension for the love, care, support and encouragement you showed to Taylor.
Lynnea Roon (Taylor's 7th-grade Science teacher)
Thank You for showing Taylor that Science is fun. I know that he thinks of you while he is in science classes & compares them to your class (unfortunately). He misses having you as his Science teacher & he loved every experiment you did. I know that you have a tough load of science classes right now, but I know that every child learns something new from you every day. I pray that God will bless you as you teach & share your love of science with the students. I pray that God will bless you & your family over the years to come.
Keith Caterino (Taylor's 7th-grade Math teacher & 8th-grade Teen Leadership teacher)
Thank You for being Taylor's cool teacher (his words). Taylor loved being in your Teen Leadership class & I know he wishes he could have stayed in it all year. I loved hearing some of the stories he could share every day after school. He would go on & on about how cool you are & how much he loved your class. I know he struggled with Math & I want to Thank You for encouraging him to stick with it. Thank You for being an encourager, a leader, a teacher, and a man that he looks up to. Thank You for your dedication to the students you teach. I pray that God will bless you & your family!
Laura Kuperus and Michelle Barrows (Middle School Counselors)
Thank You for being there for Taylor following his dad's death. Thank You for being there for me as well. Thank You for your willingness to check in with him periodically. Thank You for being there for all of the students who pass through the middle school. Both of you are wonderful, caring, loving, supportive, encouraging women. I am at a loss for words to express just how thankful I am for both of you. I pray that God will bless each of you as you continue to work with the middle school students.
Troy Anderson (Taylor's Band Director)
Thank You for the past three years teaching Taylor in band class. We've had many discussions about my son over the years, and I am thankful that you are so dedicated to your students. Thank You for coming to his dad's funeral. It was completely unexpected & appreciated. Taylor talks often about how you are one of his favorite teachers. Thank You for pushing Taylor, even when he pushes back. Thank You for being a man that he looks up to. I can't wait to see what is in store for Taylor in high school. I also can't wait for Taylor to experience the joys & struggles of Marching Band! I pray that God will bless you as you continue to share your love of music with your students. I pray that God will bless you beyond comprehension in the years to come!