|Some of my "kids" and dear Miss Gaupp|
Most of my "kids" are now grandparents; at least one is retired. It was fun to see the spirit of these young people still vibrant in the lives of these mature adults and to share their joys and sorrows with them for a while that day.
Three other teachers were at the reunion as well. Of the four of us, Miss Gaupp is the one that has remained in the teaching profession. I remember meeting her the day I went for my job interview. I don't remember much about the actual interview, but I do remember that I was at the school during lunch. "Do you have something to eat?" Miss Gaupp asked me. No, I told her, I didn't think to bring anything. "Then please have half of my meatloaf sandwich," she told me. How could I not love Miss Gaupp!
She was in her 40s, always loving, gracious, and professional. She was the school counselor as well as a high school english and history teacher. As she was leaving the reunion, some of her former students reminisced with her about assignments they'd done for her and things they learned in her classes. They shared the scriptures that have been part of their lives because of Miss Gaupp and the lessons they'd learned from her. I was impressed by their earnest tribute to her and reminded of the powerful role teachers play in the lives of kids.
You know, Miss Gaupp is still teaching today at 83! "It's just three classes," she says of her assignment at a small school that meets in a church. Lucky students!
The seniors were only six years younger than me, the same age as my little brothers. During those years I was struggling to find my own path. Landing that teaching job was exciting for me, but it was also quite overwhelming. In the weeks before school began I was afraid, and I called out to the Lord for help. It was then that I discovered the passage that has become my life verse, Isaiah 42:16:
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
along unfamiliar paths I will guide them.
I will turn the darkness into light before them
and make the rough places straight.
These are the things I will do;
I will not forsake them.