Dear AP Reader…

While I can’t reveal the contents of the tests I grade as an AP Reader, I can say that every now and then, a student chooses not to answer the questions on the AP exam and instead opts to turn the exam into a sort of confessional. Sometimes, those students are rude, flighty, pompous, panicked, or given over to the drawing of hand turkeys. Every now and then, however, I get a “Dear AP Reader…” message that I really appreciate.

Such was today’s case. The poor kid apologized for why she didn’t finish the exam. She explained it was because she’d missed lots of class time. She further explained that the lost time was due to a series of tragedies in the past semester, including crises that hit close to home.

Reading the four pages of explanation moved me. She wasn’t making this stuff up, believe me. After reading it, I had to sit back a moment and reflect on my own life and count my blessings. She’d taken a huge beating, but held firm and found her way through it. I really admire how she kept holding on to life and found a way to still be positive after everything it did to her. Believe me, I know what life can do.

At the end of her explanation, she told me to treat myself to a dinner, that I’d deserved it. I want you to know that I honored that direction. I went to Campanello’s here in Cincinnati and had a fantastic Spaghetti Carbonara that has worked its way into my list of the Twenty Best Things I’ve Ever Eaten. More than that, as I waited for my food, a little boy from the table next to mine kept running around and saying “hi!” to everyone. He had blond hair and was only 17 months old, so he easily reminded me of my son, Jarom, who left this world 9 years ago. I talked with a group of people next to me, including a couple that had been together for 43 years, so that easily reminded me of Yvette, my dear wife, my best friend, and my true love. A group of kids asked me to take their picture: that easily reminded me of my three lovely children still here with me.

Sure, the food was great. But taking the advice of that student that had been through so much helped me to realize how blessed my life has been so far and how wonderful people really can be. I love my family, I love the good people of the world, and I love the positive experiences we’re able to enjoy each day, if we just allow them to happen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.