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The Other Side of the Desk

August 14, 2019
By Christa Castile

It's been a long time. Inhaling that unmistakable aroma of books and paper and glue and pencil shavings and - now I'm dating myself - chalk dust.  Sweating out a test or two, doodling discreetly on a desk, laughing at a lunch table with friends that understood me, crying in a bathroom over a boy.  A long...long time. 

Yet here I am- same school, different desk. I work in the office of the same K-8 school from which I graduated. My former computer teacher is now the principal.  My children are now in class with the children of some of my classmates.  I can find my dad's picture on the graduation wall above "Class of 1963."  My grandparents worked to help start the school in 1954.

To anyone who hasn't set foot in the building, this might appear a sheltered, rather uneventful life. But my story is deeper than that. 

In my years at St. John, I learned discipline, responsibility.  I learned the triumph of a job well done as well as how to start over and try again.  I learned that I was loved, not because of what I could do, but because of who I was.  Somehow the teachers saw in me things I could not begin to perceive in myself, and yet they were right all along.  I learned my faith.  It wasn't just a subject. It was something I was challenged to live.  There was no other choice of school for my kids. 

Time moved on and as a recovering perfectionist, I hesitantly answered God's call from the lips of Mrs. Vogtner, our current principal.  I would work, not in a classroom as I had for many years prior, but in the office as Director of Advancement, helping to market the school and ask for funds to advance the school's mission.  I knew I would make many mistakes, but failure at SJE is a beginning- not an end. There is just as much love on the inside as I always felt on the outside.  From this side of the desk, I see how a little mouse was really a mighty Eagle all along.  She went to school and learned that with God all things are possible.