We are all in this together and the time is now.
Monday, April 6
Greetings, Earthlings, I have come here to assert my world domination at long last. Oops, wrong thread. I meant to say, hello, Seniors 2020!
We made a time capsule when I was a Senior at Stilwell High School way back in 1996. It was one of the last things I did as a Stilwell Indian. Ten years later I went to my high school reunion and they handed out the items we had written (song lyrics, letters, etc.) I was shocked and delighted at 28 years old to see the things I’d written to myself as a teenager. Some people say teenagers are foolish but that is a falsehood. You’re already very wise and you know more than most. Also, no one in the world is more of an expert about you than YOU. So our final project as a class will be to read excerpts from our books and write 20 days worth of journal entries.
If you ever have any questions or concerns about this project OR if you need anything at all you can contact me on my cell phone. I am also available throughout the day via school email: email@example.com.
Please keep in mind this project is designed for only 15-20 minutes of daily work. This is not, I repeat, THIS IS NOT, a project to stress over, OK? I told you at the beginning of the year if you showed up, if you stuck with me and made an effort you had nothing to worry about. That has not changed. Do not stress over this work. As a matter of fact, journaling is a proven stress reliever. Use this project as your daily opportunity to de-stress.
Every day we will have a different reading selection followed by a journal entry. If you finish this assignment all at once you’re done for the year and there will be no consequence for turning the work in early. But I ask you to be more reflective than that. Consider the project as though your writing may one day be published in a book. Many of you expressed during the school year that you would love for our class to publish a book. That is what I’m hoping for from you; thoughtful writing that captures YOU as a unique individual and personal reflections on the time we spent together. This strange year will remain a special time in my life. I will never forget you. I will do my very best to publish our year in a book. This project is due back by May 4th. Either send it back to me by email or take snapshots and text or message it to me. As a last resort, you can take the paper packet back to the office. I greatly prefer to limit our potential exposure to each other by doing the work electronically.
When all this is over we will celebrate the real way. IN PERSON. For now, let us finish what we started. Are you ready? Take a deep breath. Here we go.
We would have ended this year by reading Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer and Transcendentalism by Emerson and Thoreau, featuring the essays Self-Reliance & Civil Disobedience. Both of these books emphasize independence and finding freedom in nature, among other things. They also feature journal entries. I’ll include excerpts from these two books in each assignment. This is an excerpt from Into the Wild, Chapter 1:
“April 27th 1992
Greetings from Fairbanks! This is the last you shall hear from me Wayne, arrived here 2 days ago. It was very difficult to catch rides in the Yukon Territory. But I finally got here. Please return all the mail I receive to the sender. It might be a very long time before I return South. If this adventure proves fatal and you don’t ever hear from me again I want you to know you’re a great man. I now walk into the wild. Alex.”
-Postcard received by Wayne Westerberg in Carthage, South Dakota.
We took many surveys together over the year. These were designed so I could get to know you better as a human being, not just as a student in a class. Music was an important component of our communication with each other. That’s why the first survey asked what songs you wanted to listen to while we worked. Music is therapeutic.
I can’t name all the songs you gave me here but these are just a few I distinctly remember:
Stolen Dance, Milky Chance
Graduation, Juice Wrld
Try Me, James Brown
Beautiful Crazy, Luke Combs
Crazy, Gnarls Barkley
ChaCha Slide 🙁
Zephyr Song, Red Hot Chili Peppers
You Really Got A Hold On Me, Smokey Robinson
Whiskey Lullaby, Paisley & Krauss
Tuesday’s Gone, Lynyrd Skynyrd
Now that I know you I want to take the question a step further. What songs are you listening to right now? Consider the circumstances we find ourselves in. Do you listen to a particular song to help you through this strange and challenging time?
Journal: Make a playlist of at least 5 songs to tell your story of the past year. Choose one in particular that speaks to you. Write out a few lyrics and explain how they help you continue to move forward.
Here is my song: