In eighth grade, students who had Heyerdahl or Leach for English were given a journal entry-type book in which they were instructed to do a specific amount of journal entries each week. After completing all of the entries, the two teachers collected each book and has kept them in cupboards in Heyerdahl’s room at BCMS until Tuesday when they gave them back to students.
“When I was an eighth grader having conflict with my mother, I wrote myself a letter about parenting and sealed it with instructions to not open it for 15 years,” said Heyerdahl. “After 7 years of teaching, I opened the letter and was amazed to read what I already believed as a 13-year-old. My goal was to allow students the same experience…to reflect on their adolescent thoughts, and to help develop their writing skills. I searched for a “tool” to fit this purpose. Tahdah! The ‘Got To Be Me’ book entered my classroom in the 1980’s! Knowing how much I appreciated my letter years later, I decided to have my students wait for their books until graduation.”
Most students forgot about the things they had written, and found it humorous to look back and reflect on what they had written four years ago. There was also more meaning in getting them back later on instead of taking them home after completion.
“I think that the English teachers all knew how much fun it would be for us to look back at that point in our life because our perspectives from then to now change so much,” said Senior Anna Mason. “The purpose at the time was to get us writing but now it seems to have changed to the documentation of who we were at that point in our lives.”
One downfall of this book is that only two of the three eighth grade english teachers had their students participate in writing.
“I had Mr. Blacik, and I didn’t realize it until now that we never did those books,” said Senior Megan Durst. “Now it sucks to see everyone walking around with them and talking about how funny and cute they were and knowing I’m not going to get one is really disappointing.”
Soon enough, 2012 books will be coming to BHS to give to next year’s Seniors, who were reminded of and looking forward to receiving theirs.
“I’m really anticipating getting my Got to Be Me book back because it will be fun to see all of the things that used to mean so much to me that don’t really matter anymore,” said Junior Jake Fredendall. “I’m excited to see how much I’ve changed as far as hobbies and skills in writing.”