Dr. Denis Dubay, the AP Environmental Science teacher at Leesville, has an Awards Day tradition that touched the hearts of many of his students.
Standing in front of the class, Dubay announced that he had an award for every person in the class. These were not the silly superlatives that many teachers hand out so that every student gets an award. Instead, Dubay offered valuable advice to his students, reminding each one that he or she will make a difference in the world – some by possibly curing cancer, and others by being a good friend or spouse.
Dubay passed out candles to every student as he told them that what they did in the future would surprise even themselves.
“When I was younger, I never would have guessed that I would be teaching high school. Some of you have your entire lives mapped out, but many of you have no idea what will come next. You may be surprised by the great things that you’ll do, but I won’t be.”
The candle was to serve as a reminder that each of Dubay’s students could make a difference in the world and have a successful future.
Dubay concluded his small ceremony with a story about a man who built a house for his friend but cut corners and did a slipshod job during the process. When the friend arrived at the house, he surprised the builder by giving him the house to keep.
“Everything you do in school is part of something you are building for yourself,” explained Dubay. “You are not working hard and getting good grades for your parents and teachers. You are building a good foundation for your future.”
Each person walked away from class that day clutching their candle and talking about how amazing it was to have a teacher who truly cared about his students.
“It made me think about my future differently, especially when he said we have to build our lives for ourselves, and not to please anyone else. It’s good advice to live by,” said Jonathan Wendt, junior.
People who had had Dubay’s class before reflected fondly on the tradition, talking about how important his advice was to them. His students will carry his heartfelt words and the tradition with them for a long time.