We’re graduating: gifts teachers would give us



The infamous Kenneth Branagh (referred to in Mr. Bevins gift) representing how all of us seniors feel right now. (Photo taken from Google under via the Creative Commons License)

Isabelle Brookshire, Copy Editor & Creative Writing Editor

Senior year is coming to an end, these last 15 days ticking off one by one. College will be an entirely new experience, and I doubt we’ll know what to bring. Because of that, some teachers have offered hypothetical gifts to give to the senior class. 

I asked the teachers these three questions:

What object would you like to give to the senior class? 

Why do you want to give the senior class this object?

Is there any significance to it? 

Mrs. Jenkins says, “I would give them my bison stuffie. Hopefully, it reminds them of the fun times they had in History class.” She chose this item because “Bison are important to U.S. History because they are truly the first Americans; here even before Native Americans crossed the Bering Strait. They remind us that we are all living on borrowed land.”

Mr. Lyons says, “I‘d give them Dave Ramsey’s Financial Freedom… and brownies. I want them to feel the freedom of knowing exactly where their money is going and how to build wealth no matter what they want to do in life. Money is much easier math and more sensible than people want you to think.”

The ever so important voting registration. (Photo Provided by Mr. Chavez)

Mr. Chavez says, “The object I would give is not at all random. [A voting ballot] is the most powerful tool students will ever have at their disposal.  It is something that most students can easily acquire but that many do not. It is something that is relatively easy to use but is routinely ignored by many people.  And when it is ignored or used irresponsibly, it can have disastrous consequences.”

Mr. Bevins says, “If I could give the senior class any gift it would be the exact same gift Oscar winner Sir Kenneth Branagh receives while playing Victor Frankenstein in the 1994 movie version of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein. For anyone not well versed in the cinematic genius that is Oscar winner Sir Kenneth Branagh, I would give this senior class a book full of blank pages. The stories this class will write will be amazing and worthy of being told someday soon.”

Dr. Villaseñor (Dr. V) says, “I would give the senior class the book Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, annual memberships to the Norton Simon, the Getty, LACMA, the Broad, and a Eurorail pass.” She wants to give these items because “Man’s Search for Meaning really resonated with me when I first read it. I think there are a lot if important life lessons that they could take away from it. The museum memberships are because art is life and they should expose themselves to as many different artistic styles, mediums, and cultures as possible at this age. Seeing the work on paper or on the computer pales in comparison to seeing it IRL. 

She further discusses her other choices: “The eurorail pass is to travel all around Europe. College and your early 20s are the best time to get out and see the world. When I was 19, I studied abroad in Paris for a semester. My friends and I got eurorail passes and backpacked through Europe and took the ferry over to Morocco. The train is great when you’re young because it’s cheap, you have more time to spare normally, and you see so much more, as opposed to flying.”

Mrs. Hunt says, “A laminated wallet-size periodic table. I want each girl to look at it and remember how smart she is! Plus… it’s a fun conversation piece while out and about in life!”

Mrs. Ward says, “I would give them an open ticket to return home anytime they missed their family, friends, or favorite pet. It may give comfort to them when they feel alone and far from all that is familiar. My son really struggled living away from home the first year so I understand the freedom that comes with the ability to reconnect and recharge.” 

Mrs. D’Alba says, “I recommend an empty box. Today we have many things stored on our phones or in the digital world, but sometimes we need to hold and look at the memories. You are entering the phase of your life that will create the stories you share with your children; they will want to see what you saw not on a phone, not a digital image but the actual tangible memory.” 

She continues, “A trip to the beach or the forest is memorable, you can take pictures, but to hold the seashell or pinecone, you found as you wandered without care brings you back to that moment in time. Each moment is fleeting, so we often do not cherish it until long after it has passed. Then we go to our box, and we pick up each object, smell it, touch it, and share the story with those we love. When you are gone along with the pictures, your children will have the precious items that meant so much to you and remember the love you shared.”

Mrs. Castaneda says, “Give them all the book Oh the Places You’ll Go from Dr. Seuss. Dr. Seuss talks about the journey of life, challenges, and joys.  As they embark onto their amazing journey of life, I hope they see challenges as opportunities to learn and grow.”

Lastly, I asked these teachers if they had any last parting words for the seniors before they graduate. 

Mrs. Jenkins quotes Eleanor Roosevelt, saying, “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

Mr. Lyons says, “Don’t wait for your “life to start—” you can make a difference now. Get loud!”

Mr. Bevins says, “We have finished what we set out to do. As a teacher, I have nothing more to give you. Even so, I would be pleased to count you as a friend.”

Dr. V says, “I’ll miss you guys! It’s certainly been a wild ride these past four years, hasn’t it! It’s been so fun to see you guys grow intellectually and emotionally. I’m very excited for you and this next chapter of your lives!”

Mrs. Hunt says, “Remember to always keep your head up!  Struggles will happen… face them head-on and know you will get past it!  Remember how smart you are, how wonderful you are, and how much you mean to everyone around you!”

Mrs. Ward says, “Begin all assignments the day they are assigned and everything will be easier, you will have more free time and less stress.”

Mrs. Castaneda says, “Be open-minded, you may need to step outside of your comfort zone. Constantly evolve into the person they were meant to be. Enjoy each moment! We know you’ll do great things, believe and trust in yourselfyou’ve got this!”