Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Family Missionaries

Well, I am back in my hometown of Princeton, New Jersey.  It is so great to be home with my family.  Yesterday for Memorial Day we went to a picnic with our ward.  It was great to see the familiar faces of those of whom I grew up with and love.

I have three cousins right now who are out on missions.  They are doing some wonderful and awesome work.  My cousin closest to me in age, Lauren, is serving in the Florida Ft. Lauderdale Mission and is currently in West Palm Beach.  Here she is (the beautiful one on the left)!
My cousin on that same side of the family, Jacob, is serving his mission in the Texas Dallas Mission and is currently in Plano.  Here he is!  (It was his birthday the other day, and my cousin got to visit him and bring him a cake.)
And, my cousin from the other side of the family, Taylor, is serving his mission in the England Manchester Mission.  It's fun to have a family member serving outside the states.  Here he is (under the picture)!
I am excited to join them!  But for now, I will enjoy my time with my family.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Class Of 2011 Graduation

I just came to the sudden realization that being a high school teacher means I have to go to Graduation every year.  I'm really not a big fan of the long commencement exercise that of which is Graduation.  I was bored at my high school graduation.  I fell asleep at my college undergrad graduation.

So, when I was told that my presence was required at the high school class of 2011's graduation, I was less than thrilled.  I went to Graduation, and was surprised.  I LOVED IT.  I was more than pleasantly surprised.  I was shocked.  It was one of the best events I've been to.  I guess I rather watch other people graduate than myself.

The speakers were incredible.  I was really touched with one of the speakers.  He was one of the Special Education students at the school, and he spoke of his journey.  He named some of the amazing staff at the school saying that they "did not wait for some other place or some other time" to help him, and that his successes could not have been acheived without the help of dedicated teachers.  It was very touching.

It was so great to see four of my Special Education students and about ten of my Peer Tutors graduate.  I am so proud of them.

At the end of the ceremony, a student got up to give closing remarks.  She told the students to move their tassles from right to left as per tradition.  In the middle of her speech, music started playing over the intercom.  It was recognizably "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey.  Suddenly, all of the students stood up and did a choreographed Flash Mob dance for the unsuspecting audience.  It was a great succees.  I am so proud to teach at a school that has such a lively student body that loves fun.  I am convinced that I work at a "one-of-a-kind" school, and I am very lucky.

The Class of 2011's theme was a quote given from President Barack Obama.  All politics aside, this really is a great quote:

"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time.  We are the ones we've been waiting for.  We are the change we seek."

So fitting for the class of double-ones.  2011.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


This has been a week from insanity.  I have been so busy wrapping up the school year, and trying to live every possible moment with my students.  Yesterday was the last day of students coming to the school.  I love yearbooks.  I am going to miss these silly, loving kids so much.
Oh...And yesterday, on the last day of school, a student spilled a cup of water all over my laptop and totally fried it.  Dunzo.  Oh well...Things happen!


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Letters To My Students

I am writing "end of the year" slash "goodbye" letters to my students right now.  My hand hurts, so I am taking a break...But I just need to express how much I really love and care about my students.  I adore and look up to each and every single one of them.  They are the light of my life.  They keep me smiling, and they make my days happy.  They keep me on my toes, and they keep me spritely.  I am so proud of them.  I am so lucky to have them in my life.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

An Inspiring Post-It Note

I am a Post-It note freak.  I have Post-It notes ALL over my desk.  The other day, I found a Post-It note amidst a sea of fellow yellow squares.  My student wrote a message to me that I will hold onto for forever.  He wrote it after hearing about my mission call.

It read:

"Serve the Lord, teach his gospel, and love Him, and worship Him."
I really have the most INCREDIBLE and OUTSTANDING students.  I am the luckiest guy alive.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Horton Hears A...Shh, Can You Hear It?

Today, Justine and I took some of our students on a field trip to see Seussical: The Musical.  It was a really awesome experience.  The play centers a lot around the character, Horton, an elephant, who claims that he can hear a voice that seems to come out of nowhere.  He hears a voice, listens to this voice, and speaks back to this voice...Yet no one else can hear it, because no one else wants to hear it...Especially the Sour Kangaroo (a hardened heart, perhaps?).  I saw so much similarity in how the Holy Ghost works.  As LDS people, we know we hear His voice.  We are receptive to a voice from someone we can not see.  Other people may ostracize us, but we stay strong and firm in the things we know to be true.  I just loved how much the story from Seussical tied in to this.

*Sings* Because, a person's a person...No matter how small.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Remarkable Student

So...Let me start off my saying, "What's up with Blogger?!"  I posted about my mission call this past Wednesday, May 11th, and I had 17 extremely nice and meaningful and inspiring comments from you all...And somehow they are all gone. :(  I looked at them probably every hour and re-read them.  I thank you all for your support and kind words.

Now...onto my post for tonight.

Last night, I chaperoned Prom for the high school I teach at.  I had such a great time, and it was so awesome to see such a clean and modest dance.  The students at my place of work are exceptional.  Last evening after dinner, a suit coat was left on a chair.  A lady cleaning up to change the dinner set up to dance set up said to herself, "This isn't good.  Someone left their jacket."  I said, "Oh, I can take that, put it up in the coat rack and try to find who it belongs to."  I decided to look through the pockets to see if there was any identifiable information.  What happened next was incredible.  I pulled out of the inner pocket, a temple recommend.  The name on that temple recommend was the name of one of my students with Autism.  How awesome is that!?  The demonstration of this young man's Church standards are inspiring.  I am so proud to have such faithful students.  I have learned SO much from them.



For Non-Members: Every Latter-day Saint male is expected to serve a 2 year mission for the Church at the age of 19.  A mission requires the missionary to sacrifice time, being with family, education, and worldly possessions (car, cell phone, etc.) to focus on bringing the truth of the restored gospel to those that do not have it.  A "mission call" is issued to the LDS member, and it can be anywhere from the USA to England to Taiwan to Zimbabwe to Philippines to Italy ... etc.


I, unfortunately, did not have the opportunity to serve a mission at the age of 19.  Now, I am 22 years old (23 in June), and I was finally given the chance to serve a mission.  My mission call came on Friday, May 6th.  I drove up to Blackfoot, Idaho to open it with extended family up there as I Skype-d my Mom, Dad, and younger sister, Krista, in New Jersey.  (Watch the video of me opening my mission call below).

Everyone made their guesses of where I would be serving.  Korea, Washington, Taiwan, Hawaii, Romania, Denmark, Argentina, Chile, etc...

No one, not even I, saw this one coming...

I will be teaching the truth of the gospel and serving the people of the:


AHHHHH!!!!  I am SO SO SO SO SO EXCITED!  The area of my mission covers West Las Vegas (i.e. Summerlin area, etc.), Reno, Carson City, Winnemucca, Lake Tahoe, Sparks and even goes into California.

The more I think of my call, the more I realize how perfect it is for me.  I will officially begin my mission by going into the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah on July 6th.  I HAVE LESS THAN TWO MONTHS!

I am just so thrilled to be sharing the thing I cherish and love the MOST: The knowledge and testimony I have of my faith that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that He lives!; that through baptism and access to the Atonement, we all the opportunity to return to our Father in Heaven; that faith, hope, charity, and enduring to the end are all integral characteristics of becoming more like our Savior, that families can be together forever; and so so so much more!

Here are some pictures below of me opening my mission call.
 And the video:

And a map of my mission (blue):


Monday, May 9, 2011

So Excited

BAHHHHH!!!!  I am so excited I can't sleep!  I tried sleeping, and I can't.

I can't say anything right now...But I will be making a post maybe Wednesday night to why I am so thrilled, excited, elated, and happy.  Tune in to find out!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Dayton's Legs

My Mom sent me this video in an e-mail and I just have to share it. It is so inspirational. I think we can all try to be more like this 13 year old, Spencer. I also like how as a leader, Spencer cared about EVERY member in his Deacon's Quorum...Even Dayton, who is non-verbal and has cerebral palsy. He cared about him as much as his other quorum members. It is so important to remember individuals with disabilities and their need for friendship.

Happy Cinco De Mayo!


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Our Youth

Yesterday morning at the Provo, Utah Temple, before work/school started, I saw at least two high school students from the school I teach at.  Monday mornings are "late start" days, and school isn't in session until after 8:00am.  When I was a youth, I would have totally taken this time to sleep in, and NOT wake up.  However, there were students that woke up early in the morning, not to finish last minute homework assignments, but to serve by going to the Temple.  This made me so happy to see how strong the youth of our Church is.  We are so lucky and fortunate to have such brilliant youth.

Elaine S. Dalton, Second Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency, said in the October 2004 session of General Conference, "Temple work is the work that we have been prepared to do.  It is a work for every generation, including and especially the youth."  I am so glad that the youth have listened.

Oh, there were sparks flying out of one of my outlets at school today.  Literally...SPARKS...FLYING.  Shooting.  Flowing.  Flaming.  Sparks.  It was like the 4th of July.


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Kind Of Exciting

Single members of the Church from 18 to 30 years old are called Young Single Adults (YSA).  Today, there was a reorganization for the YSAs, which will mostly affect Utah and Idaho areas where there is a high population of YSA students.  At Stake Conference, Elder Gong of the Quorum of the Seventy spoke of how this change will be good.  I am excited to be a part of it.

I found an article on lds.org that talks about the changes and the benefits.  Click Here to read or click the following link: http://lds.org/church/news/single-adults-leaders-see-benefits-of-ysa-ward-reorganization?lang=eng&query=ysa

Happy May 1st!