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A simple gesture of support





Title – A simple gesture of support
By – Janice G

Originally, I wanted to be a welfare worker. I wanted to guide others in developing independence and the ability to seek resources to create their own destiny. So instead I’m a teacher. This story evolves over a period of years and is about a simple gesture of support.

In the first year of teaching fifth grade, I had an ESL student from China ask me for a favor. His family had immigrated to the US while he was a babe in arms. As it turned out, the US government challenged his right to be here at the age of ten. The family asked me to write a letter for their son to serve as a character reference to prevent his deportment. I gladly accepted, and in my letter I went on to describe a child with good character, his academic abilities, attention to detail and the potential for his future contributions to our country. The term ended and Dian was promoted to middle school as scheduled.

Three years later, upon the occasion of his eighth grade graduation, he came to thank me for writing that letter for he was determined that my words contributed to his being allowed to stay in the U.S. Wishing him well, we said our good-byes, but such a satisfying sense of well-being remained with me. A simple gesture had meant so much to him.

Well, as the story goes, my Christmas came early this year. The frenzy of the season at school had peaked with our class party. My first grade wee ones had celebrated this day, and all but their echoes remained. I was left to the task of closing the classroom for winter break when a stranger appeared at my door. At first, I thought it was a parent. A familiar, yet mature face can into focus. I knew in a moment that the 6-1 figure of a man was Dian. He couldn’t believe it when I asked if it was him. We hugged, reminisced and laughed about days gone by. We talked about that letter again and about all the ways he had made my predictions come true. This 19 year old is a first year engineering student at UCSD and is also a Marine Corp reservist. He told me he feels indebted to serve our country in return for the opportunities that have come his way. His paying a visit to me was such a simple gesture on such a grand scale. Here’s wishing that all teachers may reap the feelings of our simple gestures coming full circle. His simple gesture meant so much to me.

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