Theme: Veterans and Freedom
Back in September of
2005, on the first day of school, Martha Cothren, a social studies
teacher at Robinson High School in Little Rock, Arkansas did something not to be
forgotten. On the first day of school, with the permission of the school
superintendent, the principal and the building supervisor, she removed all of
the desks from her classroom.
When the first period students entered the room they discovered that there were no desks.
"Ms. Cothren, where are the desks?"
She replied, "You can't have a desk until you tell me how you earn the right to sit at a desk."
They thought, "Well, maybe it's our grades."
"No," she said, "it's not your grades."
"Maybe it's our behavior."
She told them, "No, it's not even your behavior."
And so, they came and went, the first period, second period, third period. Still no desks in the classroom.
By early afternoon television news crews had started gathering in Ms. Cothren's classroom to report about this crazy teacher who had taken all the desks out of her room.
The final period of the day came and as the puzzled students found seats on the floor of the deskless classroom, Martha Cothren said, "Throughout the day no one has been able to tell me just what he or she has done to earn the right to sit at the desks that are ordinarily found in this classroom. Now I am going to tell you."
At this point, Martha Cothren went over to the door of her classroom and opened it.
Twenty-seven (27) U.S. Veterans, all in uniforms, walked into that classroom, each one carrying a school desk. The Vets began by placing the school desks in rows, and then they walked over and stood alongside the wall. By the time the last soldier had set the final desk in place those kids started to understand, perhaps for the first time in their lives, just how the right to sit at those desks had been earned.
Martha said, "You didn't earn the right to sit at these desks. These heroes did it for you. They placed the desks here for you. Now, it's up to you to sit in them. It is your responsibility to learn, to be good students, to be good citizens. They paid the price so that you could have the freedom to get an education. Don't ever forget it."
By the way, this is a true story. And this teacher was awarded Teacher of the Year for the state of Arkansas in 2006.
Always remember our veterans and the rights they have won for us.
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