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Teacher: ‘Difficult to hold back my tears’ at graduation


Last updated 6/19/2019 at Noon

Pictured, from left: Matthew Bowers, Brandon Burns, and Janet Bowers.

I recently celebrated my third Scriber Lake High School graduation. Each of these graduations has had quite an impact on me as a teacher, a fortunate consequence of the deep connections we are able to make with our students at Scriber.

This year, however, was especially touching for me. During this graduation, I was able to sit next to my husband, Matthew Bowers, who was equally excited to see one of my students cross the stage.

The student, Brandon Burns, was my student for the last three years, and a mentee to my husband for nearly two.

I asked Brandon if he wouldn’t mind me sharing a few things about him, and if he might share his thoughts about mentoring. He approved and accepted.

Brandon, a recent Edmonds Daybreakers Rotary Club Hidden Winner, is a wonderful young man. By far, Brandon is one of the most kind-hearted students I have ever met, has a work ethic that employers desire (Boeing already hired him), and his love and dedication toward his family are something I have appreciated being able to witness over the years.

During the graduation, it was difficult to hold back my tears as I watched Brandon and his numerous family members share gestures and smiles with him as he sat on the stage. His parents, Robert and Melissa, could not have looked prouder.

For my husband and I to have had a small part in being able to watch Brandon sit on that stage is something we will always cherish.

My primary role at Scriber as the Student Transition Education Program (STEP) teacher is to help students find a path leading toward academic success. Brandon’s path happened to include my husband, known to his mentees as Mr. Bowers and, occasionally, The Bearded One.

I asked Brandon what he would say to the community about what it was like having a mentor during his last couple years of high school.

This was his response: “I would have to say having a mentor was probably the best thing for me. Having the extra support and help was what made me work harder and get my work done … I know for a fact that without the one-on-one support from my mentor, I would never have graduated from high school. My mentor was able to explain things that I sometimes could not understand in the classroom, or was too shy to ask in front of the whole class.”

If you don’t have the luxury of being a teacher, and should have the time and/or talents our youth could benefit from, volunteering might just be the next best thing.

As stated on our district’s website: “The Edmonds School District invites you to get involved in our schools by becoming a volunteer. We are looking for parents, families, and community members who want to support students with one-on-one tutoring, field trips and events.

“Students experience positive growth by having extra caring people in their lives, and volunteers provide encourage, build confidence, and help them grow academically.”

Mr. Bowers, thank you for volunteering for the Edmonds School District at Scriber Lake High School. Thank you for being Brandon’s mentor.


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