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Anisha AdkeI graduated last week, and words don’t do justice to the happiness that surrounds my classmates and me. We’ve waited for the past four years for this moment, and our time to walk across the stage and be set free has finally arrived.

But there are those who attend graduation every year and never leave. They are the ones who make it possible for us to graduate, who poked and prodded us through the senioritis, who encouraged us to keep going when we were up to our waists in work.

Yes, the teachers. Perhaps there were late nights when we swore they hated us, but inside we knew that these are some of the most selfless human beings that walk the face of this Earth.

I’ve had more than my fair share of incredible teachers. There’s Mr. Dickinson, for example, who was the first teacher I met when I transferred to Lakeridge. When I walked into his classroom to take a placement test, he sat me down in a chair next to one with handcuffs on the desk and spikes on the seat. He had us yawp and let us relieve the stress of junior year by screaming poetry on the football field. Perhaps most importantly, Mr. Dickinson, a former English teacher who was recently named assistant principal, introduced us to the ideas of civil disobedience and how they have been used in the past to bring about change.

There’s Dr. Hoppes, who you’d often find grading research papers in her classroom in D wing. This social sciences teacher taught me more than anyone else. She was the one who told us not to be ashamed of where we come from, because we could change the world. It was only when she said it that I could believe it myself. At a mock trial retreat, she single-handedly saved us from the boys pouring mayonnaise on our faces at 3 a.m. She put her time and energy and heart into us every single day. She worked us to the point of exhaustion, but looking back, I know it was worth it.

Across the alcove in D wing is where you’d find Mr. Provost, another social sciences teacher. I’m sitting here trying to describe Prov’s impact on me, but I’m finding that I can’t because words can’t describe his victory screech, or his genuine desire to help us all be happy and to help us better understand the world and people around us. He wasn’t afraid to share his weaknesses with us, and for that he became so much more human. He cared.

AP Chemistry is quite the impossible subject, and on the first day of class, Mrs. Brazier frightened me to my very core when she told us what was coming up. But she made it manageable. Mrs. Brazier knows what it’s like to be us, and she never hesitated to do what she could to make our lives easier. She’s a genuinely kind, beautiful human being who spends an amazing amount of time on her students.

This is one of those times that I wish I didn’t have a limited amount of space to fill. I’d like to talk more about Señora Woodward, who teared up on the last day of Spanish class because she cared about us so much. Or Mr. Moore, who somehow made calculus class not just bearable, but enjoyable. I wish I could share the names of all the teachers who I was fortunate enough to know.

I consider myself unlucky to have transferred two years into high school, because I missed out on so many other Lakeridge teachers. They have what could be regarded as the most important jobs on Earth. They are the ones who train the next generation by instilling the ideas and values within us that maybe, just maybe, can save society’s future.

I never thought I would have to blink back tears on the last day of high school — I have been waiting for this moment for too long — but I had to when I was saying goodbye to my teachers. If any of you are reading this, I hope you know how much you all mean to me, and how much we appreciate you, and how you’ve managed to touch my heart in a way that no one else has.

Anisha Adke is a 2014 graduate of Lakeridge High School who plans to attend the University of Oregon. For the past year, she’s written a monthly column for The Review. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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