With the students and many of the teachers away on their summer break, things can get a little boring around here. It’s a lot quieter. There’s not near as much activity going on. And we’re all just waiting for school to start up again.
I’m sure if you asked most of the students, they would say they are enjoying their break way too much to think about school. But whether they admit it or not, I’m sure they’re starting to get at least a little bit excited about the new school year.
The students may not be missing us quite yet, but we sure are missing them. Here are some of the things we miss about our Shepherds College students:
1. Their energy.
If you were a visitor at Shepherds College and you happened to be walking down the hallways in between class periods, you would understand exactly what we’re talking about when we say energy. Maybe the students are nervous about an upcoming test. Maybe they’re releasing all the wiggles pent up during class. Maybe they’re just excited about all that they are learning. Whatever it is, there is definitely a high level of energy in our hallways when the students are around. It makes you excited to hear the chatter and laughter and to see the activity and smiles. It will energize you, too!
The “Move to the Groove” program encourages our students to have fun while being physically active and also really increases the energy level on campus. It’s usually held in the gymnasium, and students can exercise by shooting hoops, riding the stationary bikes, walking laps, or doing aerobics. Even some of the Shepherds residents get involved. Mrs. Harvey says that she can feel the happy energy when the students’ participate and it gives her a boost to get past the after-lunch slump.
2. The things they say.
You never know what our students are going to say, and that’s what makes life with them so interesting. From their sweet words of kindness and encouragement to their hilarious jokes, the students always have something intriguing to talk about. And they love to talk!
When I observed a personal development class, students were giving speeches as part of their final. The “audience” was supposed to give the speaker critiques on their speech by using the “sandwich” method: positive comment, something to improve on, positive comment. Nicole only gave positive comments. She could never find something for her classmates to work on. She was quite the encourager. And for some reason, Miranda has taken to teasing me with the nickname “troublemaker.” I haven’t the slightest idea what that’s about! Oh, they make me smile.
3. Their hugs.
Many of our students are gifted with the abilities to comfort and encourage. It feels good when they are so excited to see you that their whole face lights up and they hurry to you for a hug. The students have a special way of making you feel important and appreciated. They’re also very perceptive and can tell when people are worried or hurting. The students love to make friends and be a part of the Shepherds family. They love making people feel loved.
4. The stories they share.
Remember when I said our students love to talk? Well, I wasn’t kidding. Our students enjoy asking people questions and finding out more about them, but they also love telling their own stories, too. They like to surprise you or make you laugh, so their storytelling is usually pretty exciting and dramatic. But they are heartfelt stories, too. They are stories that make you smile.
I think the biggest storyteller on campus is Ray. He always has a story to share, and I love hearing his deep, scratchy voice. Ray has told me stories about movies he’s watched, music he listens to, his mom’s birthday, his extended family, memories with the 2012 graduates, his excitement of being a third year student, and just about every plant growing in the greenhouse. This guy loves stories, and he does a great job of telling them, too. I miss that.
5. Their smiles.
I could write words upon words about the students’ precious smiles and what they mean to us at Shepherds College, but why make you read when I can show you instead?
Need I say more?
So, while our students enjoy a break from their studies, we eagerly anticipate the coming school year because oh, how we miss those students!
Shepherds College - Guiding Your Transition to Appropriate Independence. Please visit us at www.shepherdscollege.org.