Walking out of Dunlap Middle School with my mom after a loss on the basketball team, I dropped my toy in the middle of the hallway. I looked at my mom, and being the bratty kid I was, I told her, “pick it up.”
She, with surprise and anger, said, “No! Joshua, you pick it up!” Embarrassed, she apologized to the stopped crowd in the middle of the hallway and began to lead me out the door.
After the proper apology from my mom, followed by the swift motion of picking up my toy, Mr. Black looked at my mom and said, “Oh, no problem! By all means!” He was impressed with my mom’s handle on the situation. Little did I know that Mr. Black would be one of the most hard working, caring, role models I’d ever follow behind.
Walking into my best friend’s house for the first time, I became astonished to see the man standing in front of me. I greeted him as all seven year olds would, with a quick hello followed by a steady shyness. He was well known around the Dunlap district for his uplifting personality and his passionate work ethic. Wondering where I’ve seen him before, it clicked: he was the 6th grade science teacher at DMS and has taught my brother. Looking up to middle schoolers and eager to go to DMS, I hoped I could have Mr. Black as my teacher one day. That day that I met him was the day I realized that he was a genuine person, with an altruistic attitude.
Over the years spent at Mr. Black’s house, I learned how to handle myself, work harder, and mature. I learned how they lived, and how they worked; I was integrated into a family that I will call my own for the rest of my life. Unlike all my other friends, going to Mr. Black’s house was a learning experience and felt like my home away from home. If I was ever worrying or doubting myself I knew Mr. Black could assure me and help me find a way to overcome what I was going through.
Thinking about Mr. Black now, I never realized how hard he’s worked for himself, his kids, and the impact he’s made on his students. He’s repeatedly offered the help and support I needed even when I was a kid, and would make sure I was staying out of trouble with the right attitude and passion towards all of my hobbies. And although I didn't end up attending the school he taught at, I was still impacted by him in every way outside of the classroom. Adopting two kids and working days and nights, he showed me that success is earned and it won’t come easy. He taught me how to be independent, while still being able to balance out entertainment, but utmost you significantly taught me how to be myself.
Mr. Black, your persistence has inspired me to work on myself and be diligent with what I do. You’ve always been respectful to me and sheltered me when I didn't want to be at my own house and did anything you can to keep your house open to me. You've housed several memories of mine and have made me resilient to what is to come. I know I am always welcome when I come back to Dunlap and know right when I step in the door, I'll feel just as I did the first time I stepped into your house. Your work ethic and positive perception has been essential to me and I will forever remember you and the impact you've made on my life.