Sunday, December 17, 2006

Kermit Evans

Here's an email from one of our alumni, Lauren (Glas) Zarandona, who still teaches in Hollandale, about Kermit Evans, the young man who died in Iraq.

I tried calling you last Saturday after Kermit's memorial service. It was incredibly emotional. His parents and wife accepted bronze stars in his memory. It was a beautiful addition to a service honoring an honest-to-goodness hero. After reading your most recent blog I wanted to let you know about my connection with him, a connection that started at the Simmons High career fair in 2004.

It was my first year teaching. As I wandered around the career fair, I met Kervin Evans, Mr. Evans' oldest son and an agricultural researcher. I invited him to speak to my 7th grade math classes that afternoon. He was honored and did an awesome job. My students finally realized that math is used beyond the classroom, even by people from Holandale. In his excitement, Kervin asked his wife to take a picture of us together. A few months later, Kermit returned home from his first tour in Iraq. He saw the picture and teased his brother about the "cute young woman in the picture." Shortly after that, Kermit came to a banquet for Ms. Young and presented her with a flag that was flown in Iraq. While everyone mingled, he approached me and teased me about the photo. He also shared his wedding photos with me.

Meeting both men was like meeting up with long-lost relatives. Maybe a connection to the Delta is all that it takes to make you family with those who owe it for who they are. They make their home your home.

But even while "at home," I often feel frustrated. I wish that I better understood what my students need and when; sometimes all that I can do is teach them math (just a small part of my job). Other times (very rarely), I can do more. I, like the Evans' men, can make them family. Those are the best moments, the moments that inspire me to keep teaching.

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