Another Letter To Mr. Kreinbring

Another Letter To Mr. Kreinbring

Don't post pictures of the eng wing if you don't want sappy letters in response.
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Dear Rick,

(Am I allowed to call you Rick to your face yet? Sorry, sorry.)

Dear Mr. Kreinbring,

I think I've written you too many letters already, and I'm sure you're tired of reading them. But I saw the picture of you and the eng wing dressed up for Halloween (minus a few faces) and I just couldn't help getting nostalgic. Like Tanya said, the eng wing never fails to disappoint. Never.

God, I miss you guys. I miss your class. I miss our discussions and our design thinking. I miss talking about feminism and religion and language. I miss the way you would teach us and essentially blow up our minds and then send us on our way.

Mostly though, I miss the way you grounded us. Since being here on campus, I've somehow forgotten the most important lesson you ever taught me: to give up the race for grades and follow the pursuit of knowledge.

College is insane, needless to say. The competition here is fierce. Every kid is the brightest, smartest, most talented kid. Everyone looks like they have their shit together, even if they don't. And classes are tough. (By the way, thanks for teaching me how to research so I'm not entirely lost with these 12,912,839 research papers I have to write by the end of the week. Also, thanks for teaching me how to write; that's a skill I've capitalized on beyond reasonable measure.) But yeah, college is intense. And somehow, I managed to slip back into 11th grade mentality, back into the Cave. You know, with the insistent push for GOOD GRADES and DON'T MESS ANYTHING UP EVER!!!!!!!! I started looking, no, obsessing over my GPA again. Oops. I know, I know, I'm sorry.

Seeing your face in the Addam's Family costume reminded me to take a step back and gain some perspective. Today I realized that I am literally at a place where I am surrounded on all four sides by information. For the next few years, any question I have, ANY question at all, I can get an answer to if I just look hard enough. That's what amazing resources I have at my finger tips. I'm here to learn, not to race. I remember that now. You've reminded me of that.

Sure, GPA matters and all, but oh my god, no it doesn't! What matters is that I'm learning things, things I'm probably not going to have such easy access to ever again. I can learn anything I want to. I don't need to be scared.

I remember you once agreeing with Mrs. Allan that you hated the whole concept of open letters, because they're just irritating and not ever well-written and are just an excuse for people to sound self-important. Yikes. I'm sorry I chose to make this an open letter, but I think that more people need to hear the things that you're teaching at Avondale, especially a lot of my peers.

Ben Zaremba, just a few days ago, said something like, "We don't even realize the impact that Avondale had on us. We had diversity and Rick's class," and those two things taught us more than any number of AP or IB courses ever could have.

Damn, I wish I could bring you and Eng Wing with me wherever I go. I wish you could always be there to spread your wisdom (yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes). But I'll just keep your lessons in mind. I'll remember the things you've taught me. I'll be grateful for where I come from and the memories I'm taking with me.

Even so many miles away and so many months later, you still continue to inspire. That's powerful.

Thank you for everything, again, because I'll never stop saying thank you.

Riya

Cover Image Credit: Vipul Gupta

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To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything
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I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

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3 Things i learned at pride in NYC

The people, the flags, and the glitter are even more magical in person.

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On Sunday, June 24th, my girlfriend, my best friend and I, all hopped on a train to the World Trade Center in New York City. After a short subway ride, we arrived at 16th Street, where the parade festivities began. Dressed in our decked out rainbow attire, we entered a vibrant crowd of flag wielding, self-loving having, beautiful people. Pride is something the LGBTQIA+ community knows how to celebrate well. Lesbihonest, I think its safe to say that the LGBTQ+ community essentially created loving yourself, along with embracing those around you, whether you know them or not. While at Pride, I learned a few things about myself, about how to love others, and what it means to be apart of a community.

1. Love thy neighbor

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Because pride is such an important event to the LGBTQIA+ community, the number of people that attend each year is increasing by the thousands. There were an expected 48,000 people this year and when you're amerced in such a large crowd keeping your cool is super important. I learned that in most cases, giving love will result in receiving it, especially in 84-degree weather. So when I was making my way through energetic crowds, I used my p's and q's and was met with the same energy from strangers.

2. At pride, the dress code is no dress code

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If you're in the mood to wear your birthday suit, glitter, or witty t-shirt and celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community as a member or as an ally, pride is the place to be! The extravagant outfits and expression of self-pride through clothes and even lack of clothes made me feel extremely comfortable in my own outfit. I think we all have had our share of being uncomfortable in our skin or clothes, but being around thousands of people dressed in whatever made them most comfortable that day was a beautiful experience.

3. Pride is not solely about the LGBTIA+ community

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Heritage of Pride, the nonprofit organization that organizes New York City's LGBT pride events each year, strives to work towards creating a future that consists of equal rights for all under the law. The march is an annual civil rights demonstration that brings awareness to the fight against aids, the Black Lives Matter movement and memorializes those who have lost their lives to illness, violence and neglect. This year over 450 different organizations participated in the march and about 110 floats were shown, each float bringing awareness to different organizations.

As an Afro-Latina, lesbian, I felt very represented and extremely grateful to participate in a civil rights event such as pride. The opportunity to educate myself and even feel more comfortable in my own skin, and enjoy myself with the people I love most, is something I will truly cherish. Hopefully, my experiences and knowledge will expand next year at the 2019 NYC pride!

Cover Image Credit:

Em Goss

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