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An Incredible Journey

Authored By: 
James Vescovi, English teacher

It should come as no surprise that, when the year ends, students and teachers are ready to part ways. The phrase, “If we never meet again, it’ll be too soon!” resonates with both parties. However, the saying doesn’t have to suggest a topsy-turvy year of mutual dissatisfaction. Rather, it can speak of something positive—the difficult yet rewarding path to personal growth.

A school year is not like a marriage that, traditionally and ideally, lasts for a lifetime. An academic year is a journey with a beginning and an end. If you’ve ever taken a two-week hike with a friend down the Appalachian Trail, you know by day twelve that you’ll be glad to return to your respective homes.  Similarly, teaching at Beekman is very much a journey for student, teacher, and tutor alike.

And this year—having had to take a leave of absence for health reasons—I am missing my annual journey.

All schools brag about diversity, but having sent my children to three different ones, I can forthrightly tell you that a lot of school diversity is of a “token” nature. Not Beekman, which draws not only local New York City teens with strong academic skills and whose parents value the low teacher/student ratio, but kids of UN families, from nations like Chad and Bhutan. Beekman’s flexible scheduling also beckons soon-to-be professional dancers and musicians.

Our special role as an open-enrollment institution also serves to diversify our population—and here’s where things get interesting.  We also attract students who, for a variety of reasons, have had a difficult time finding the right school and learning style that fits their needs. Some arrive disillusioned and ready to give up. It is their adrift-ness and rawness that make a Beekman education truly unique for everyone. No cookie-cutter students here—and our population matches the diversity of people in the outside world. In my English classes, this makes for rich discussions.

Yes, students and teachers are all glad when our journey ends with June’s final exams. However, we have cut new channels through our brains that make us more intelligent and open-minded contributors to the world.

Ah…I miss it.