Dear teachers at Vernon Middle School in Marion,

The final Brainard child has walked the halls at Vernon for the last time. For some of you that might be a comforting thought. Cayleigh was the latest Brainard to put her mark on the school, following her older sister Carly, and her brother Chase. I'm sure all three were challenging at some point. But I'm not here to apologize for any of their shenanigans. I'm here to say 'thank you.'

Middle school is a tough time for many kids. I certainly don't have very many fond memories of my years in junior high. You're going through so many changes. New friends, new teachers, new hormones. It can all lead to some confusing times for kids. And on top of all those feelings, pile on math, science, and homework.

Google Maps
Google Maps

But the staff at Vernon Middle School in Marion helped my kids make it through. I can't tell you how many times I've visited the office at Vernon. Sure, there were times when tough conversations were had about something that had happened at school. But not every office visit was that way. I can't tell you how many times I was there this year after Cayleigh forgot something at home. I felt like a regular.

Teachers have such a complicated and difficult job. Yes, they teach your children knowledge in a great number of subjects. But life lessons are taught too. There have been times when I've walked into the school and it has been a whirling cloud of chaos. Children misbehaving, acting out, and yelling loudly. It takes a strong and dedicated person to teach kids at this age and prepare them for bigger things that lie ahead.

Ryan Brainard
Ryan Brainard

Not every one of my kids was an outstanding scholar. One..cough, cough, into more trouble than he should have. But they made it through junior high. Chase graduated from Marion High School last year and Carly will be a sophomore next year with Cayleigh a freshman. Someday they'll look back on those middle school days and be thankful for the teachers and counselors that were there to guide them.

I know their parents sure are.

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