(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.