Saturday, May 28, 2005

Graduation

What a great and awful time of year. Last night, the seniors graduated. For at least a month, they've been preparing for this milestone both physically (cleaning out lockers, cleaning out garages to host guests) and mentally (losing concentration in classes, preparing to say their goodbyes). They took their final exams this past week, and they had their senior graudation luncheon on Friday. I was honored to be their guest speaker, and I hope I delivered a message both entertaining and meaningful to them.

I have taught many of the students in this particular class four years in a row, in English 9, and then English 10, and then English 11, and many in Drama & Theatre and/or Advanced Writing, too. They're a great collection of human beings, and because I know them so well, saying goodbye has not been easy. My family and I attended several post-graduation open houses last night, and I spent over eight hours today traveling from house to house, responding to invitations to attend celebrations for graduates. I have a couple to attend tomorrow, too.

I hope for great things for these kiddos. They don't have to go on to fame and fortune, although good for them if they do. But I wish for them happiness and fulfillment in whatever careers they choose and whatever relationships they form. And I hope they return once in a while to say hello. I saw NUMEROUS alumni at the various houses I went to today and last night, and they all spoke of the nostalgia they now feel for high school--something they were all too eager to leave at the time of their graduation! One guy said, "If only I had appreciated it then like I do now." Perhaps this year's graduates will return someday to express similar sentiments of gratitude. Until then, I wish them good fortune. I'll miss you all!!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

5 Recent Reasons to Be Happy

  1. I just had a date with my wife! This is always a big deal since it involves the finding and hiring of a babysitter and the determination of a night that is available to both of us. First, we went to Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith and quite enjoyed it, actually. I had read mixed reviews, but we were both pleased. Some of the acting was stiff, but the special effects were great, and the overall effect was super. I myself was recognized as Obi-Wan Kenobi by quite a few patrons of the movie, too. And I wasn't even in a costume--they just thought I look like Ewan McGregor, I guess. Hmm. Afterward, we went out to Suite 49 for beverages and appetizers. On a school night! Wow--aren't we wild?
  2. Summer is nearing. Not that my summer schedule will be any less hectic than my school-year one, necessarily. But it is always nice to take a rest from the grind of teaching and move on to a new grind for a few months. Spend some time outdoors. Attend a family reunion. Do some more PRACS studies. Progress with my Ph.D. program. That kind of stuff.
  3. My students rock! Could they be better? I don't think so. The Drama & Theatre crew are finishing up writing original plays that they will stage and perform next week. The American Literature (college credit) kiddos just finished creating some remarkable multigenre research projects. The English 11 students are turning in literary analysis compositions on American short stories, and the ones I've read so far are good. And Riley and Talon and Cap crack me up with their weekly vocabulary assignments. They could just write boring, functional sentences, but they take the time to use their smarts and their imagination to spice them up, make them funny, and STILL be correct. What a hoot! I think Andrew's will be a doozy this week, too (in Chinese?!). What'll I do without them all summer?
  4. There's been recent family contact, which is always nice. Last weekend my dad and stepmom were in town for my daughters' ballet recital, and this weekend our family is going to my dad and stepmom's home to attend my stepniece's wedding and my first-cousin-once-removed's graduation. It was fun to see dad's new fancy schmancy camper and pickup last weekend, too.
  5. It's graduation season. I don't like having to say goodbye to wonderful students who are seniors. However, I like reminiscing with them, attending their open houses, and communicating with them post-graduation when they're no longer in a "student" position to me. This year's seniors have asked me to give the address at their pre-graduation formal luncheon. That will be a fun challenge. Several of the students in this year's senior class were my students in English 9, English 10, English 11, Drama & Theatre, AND Advanced Writing! That's a lot of Moberg to take in four years!! I love 'em all and will miss them next year.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Daughters' Ballet Recital

To put it a Minnesotan way: "Oh, fer kyoo-it!" It was, indeed, very cute to watch the girls dance last night in their ballet recital. All three of our daughters take ballet and tap dancing classes at the Nancy Pasley Ballet School in Grand Forks. The annual recital is held in May at the Chester Fritz Auditorium on the campus of UND, and it's always a multi-hour extravaganza just P-A-C-K-E-D with people. There were chuckle-inducing little people dances as well as truly beautiful older people dances. My dad and stepmother came to visit in order to see the ballet, and afterward we all went to Coldstone Creamery for homemade ice cream. I was s' proud of the girls, and they had such a good time, and it was s' good to see Dad and Beverly again. Sigh.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Impressive Events

TALENT NIGHT 2005
Tuesday, April 12, the Drama Club (in other words, me) of East Grand Forks Senior High School sponsored the sixth annual Talent Night in the school's Performing Arts Center. We raised over $1,000 that night, which we will use to purchase a new light board for the P.A.C. The turn-out was superb; it was a packed house. But the talent was great, too. People were especially wowed by some of the soloists, the O'Neil family of EGF and their folk music, and the GF group Prairie Rose, as well as local band Kentucky Sound Arsenal and trombonist Nick Hagen. More on him below . . .

NICK HAGEN LIVE IN CONCERT
Somebody told me after the concert, "That's the last time we'll get to hear that for free!" What an excellent concert. Nick Hagen is a great trombonist from our school, on his way to study at Juilliard in New York City in the fall. The first half of the concert showed off Nick's technical prowess, and the second showed his ability to improv and create jazz, backed by an equally impressive jazz ensemble and several guest artists. Nick is a good student and a nice guy, too, which makes it all the easier to take pride in him!

NORTH DAKOTA BALLET COMPANY SPRING CONCERT: RED HOT SPRING
My wife and I took our daughters to the ballet on Friday, in part to see our friends' daughter dance in the NDBC Apprentice School recital that preceded the Company's spring concert. Each group (by age level) did a good job, and the kids were so cute, of course, in their costumes. But the Company's concert in the second half of the program was excellent. One selection, called "The Hours," was quite beautiful and moving--a perfect combination of music, mood lighting, and movement. "The Lonely Hearts Club" gave each member a chance to shine, too. My favorite was "Soldier's Letter Home," a dance that told a story that was touching and timely, with guest artist Bridget Noltimier of Miki's School of Dance in Devil's Lake, ND. Again, I was impressed by the high level of artistic talent and quality present in our community--and at the Company's ability to show it off in a highly accessible fashion.

PROM 2005: THE STARS ARE OUT TONIGHT
I was the "surprise" announcer for our school's junior/senior prom, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. All the students looked fabulous; as my older relatives would say, "they clean up good!" It was a cold and snowy (yes, on April 30!) evening, but it was plenty warm in the gym for the grand march. It was decorated to evoke Hollywood of the '30s and '40s--a very stylish concept. Afterward, I mingled to get a better look at all the beautiful dresses and spiffy tuxes before leaving the kids to dance and enjoy their evening.