October 4, 2013
To my students in Arena 6:
There is no way I can express the sadness I feel in leaving you. There is also no way I can express how much joy you have brought into my life. There isn’t a teacher anywhere who had such a wonderful class of students. You are smart, kind, humorous, creative, gifted, and so full of life that you have been a blessing in my life.
I hope I have made some impression on you. Most important, how much I love each of you. But also an impression that tells you that hard work, sticking to the task at hand, believing in yourself, doing your best, loving yourself and loving others are not difficult things. They are beautiful things that will reward you in life.
Never, ever, give up your dreams for a better life. And never, ever, forget that each effort you make is rewarded. Never, ever forget that every kindness you show to others comes back in kindness to you. Never, ever forget your own value as a person.
The world is often mean; too often it is mean. But you have to be the people who make the world a better place. If each of you doesn’t do that, who will? You may not immediately see a return on your efforts to do what is right, but I promise you that eventually every seed of goodness you sow will grow into a better world for you and others. Be smart. Be adaptable. Be forgiving. Be kind. Be your true self, and you will be all of these things.
I will miss so much about each of you. I will even miss your antics, your moments of frustration and anger, even those few moments when we disagreed. Each of those moments passed quickly and because of them you and I grew as human beings. I hope they taught you, as they taught me, that the affection we have for each other was worth preserving through any moment of discontent.
So now I say goodbye to my wonderful, beautiful students in Arena 6. Please call on me any time you feel the need. Let me know of your progress towards your high school diplomas. Know that I will never forget you, and I will always love you.
This post is the letter I gave to each of my students on my last day of teaching at Bronx Arena High School. The title of this post is borrowed from the last episode of the television series M*A*S*H broadcast on February 28, 1983.