Discovering the Relevance of Words
When we look back upon our schooling, we don’t often remember specific lessons, or assignments, or even papers we wrote. We might be able to recall a few novels, maybe some graffiti we left in a bathroom, or the time when we got pantsed in the hallway, or laughed at in gym class, but we do remember our favorite teachers. We remember the people who made an immediate impact on us, or who years after hating, we realized that they taught us everything we needed to know about x, y, and z. They were our mentor, our advisor, our oracle, and our leader, but made sure we knew they weren’t our friend. They were tough when needed, kind when warranted, and always there to answer life’s great questions.
I don’t know if my favorite teachers are alive or dead. In fact, I haven’t tried to find any of them in more than a decade. Most of my teachers were in their early 30’s – 40’s when I had them, and I never stopped to think about a time when they wouldn’t be there anymore. Unfortunately, my students will come face to face with that exact thought when they walk through the doors of Evergreen High School tomorrow, and find out that Doug Rogers has passed away.
Mr. Rogers has taught metal tech and shop classes at Evergreen since 1988, and was the most sarcastic, dirty, and matter-of-fact curmudgeon that one could ever meet. Known for sending out his weekly dirty-joke emails – for which anyone else would have been immediately fired – he made you feel like his best friend. He flirted with all the female staff members, poked fun at every student, and made sure that if you were of age, that at some point you shared in a bottle of scotch or a beer from the kegerator in his garage.
Doug was one of the first people I ever met when I joined the Evergreen staff 9 years ago. He immediately offered to take me out for a drink and tell me all the dirty secrets about the school, and everyone who worked there. I’ve received at least a call a week to my classroom phone – typically during class – to ask how to “get these little fuckers in line” or “how do we teach these little shits to read a god damn manual.” He made jokes at every meeting, asked all the pointed questions, and was never afraid to disagree with administration about how the school was being run. He was a fiery little man, who made his presence known in the largest of ways.
Tonight, we raise a tall glass, tell tall tales, and talk of dirty, dirty things, in honor of a great man, because he would have it no other way. Doug Rogers was a legend at Evergreen High School, and he will be forever missed.
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