Cover Photo by Mark R. Day

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Poem: "The Fulfillment of Advent"


Come Harkin to the Heralds song,
and sing of Emmanuel.
 
Let us repeat their resounding song
and join the heavenly choir.
 
For Love has come from Heaven,
the Prince of Peace in here.


Our lord has come to claim his throne;
so rejoice, with songs of praise.
 
Oh Come, that long expected moment;
when we shall see our King.
 
Written by Mark R. Day 12-20-2014.  Copyright by Mark R. Day 12-20-14, all rights reserved

Friday, December 19, 2014

Poem: "Christmas Break"


'Twas the first day of Christmas and all through the school
Every teacher was trying to look very cool.
The men wore bright ties, which sometimes sang songs.
The ladies were dressed in sweaters of red and green, trying to keep warm.
I was finishing up grading exams when it rang.
The bell of dismissal, it was time to go home.
From the hallway a noise began reaching my ear
It grew and it grew, and then was a cheer.
Jumping up from my desk, I ran and threw open the door,
to See happy children and teachers filling the hall.
They smiled and they laughed as they moved all about.
It was a wonderful, glorious, joyful sight.
Then the children were gone to the buses they ride,
and the school got all quiet inside.
But as they rode out of sight; you could hear them say
Merry Christmas to all, have a great holiday.

Written by Mark Day 12-19-14.  Copyright by Mark R. Day 12-19-14, all rights reserved

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Commentary: "How I came to teach at Liberty High School"

I was doing a little self-reflection this morning and thinking about my 20 years of teaching at Liberty High School . Some of you may know that, I retired from the Navy with 23 years and 9 months of service in June of 1995 and began teaching at Liberty High School in August of 1995. Recently, someone asked why did I choose Liberty High School and why had, I stayed there so long? The first part of that question was easily answered; Liberty High School picked me. The offer to come to Liberty was unsolicited. In fact when the call came, I was on the golf course at Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach. Arriving home after the round of golf; my wife informed me that a Mrs. Thelma White had called and wanted to speak with me about a job interview. I made the return call and spoke with Mrs. White. I was unsure of taking the offer because, I had not yet completed my student teaching experience. Mrs. White however, made me an offer that could not be refused when she said, "Mr. Day look at it this way. You can student teach this fall in Virginia Beach and pay Old Dominion University or you can come out to Bedford actually teach and we will pay you." Without hesitation, I set up an interview time and date for the last week of June. It must be admitted, at this point, that I had absolutely no idea where Bedford County even was so Barbara and I looked it up in our Atlas.
As the date for the interview approached, I prepared myself and hoped for the best. The day of the interview, I drove out to Bedford on route 460 from Virginia Beach. It was a pleasant but long trip and I arrived in Bedford around 11:00 am for my 1:00 pm interview. As I took the exit and started to drive down Main Street the scene was somewhat reminiscent of my home town back in New York. However as I topped the hill at the Court House and saw the Peaks of Otter, I fell in love with Bedford at first sight, saying to myself "This is my new home." I parked my car on Bridge Street and having some time to kill wandered through several of the stores that make up the business district. Now this next is funny. As, I walked around town my attention turned to my attire. My suit was good and the tie was perfect, but my shoes left something to be desired. I became concerned and anxious over the shoes and remembering that, I had seen a Wal-Mart sign on Route 460, drove out to that store and purchased a pair of black oxfords.
I arrived at the School Board office on South Bridge Street about fifteen minutes early and was immediately taken back to Mrs. White's office. She was an amiable lady with a broad smile and a pleasant voice. We made small talk for a few minutes and then she stated, that the Superintendent of Schools wanted to personally interview me. I was very surprised by this and my nervousness increased about 100%. My interview was very short, Dr. John Kent asked me a few questions, looked me over, and then said, "I am going to send you over to Liberty High School. You will meet with the Principle for about 20 minutes and return here to see me." Needless to say, I did as told and then returned to the Superintendent's office where he said, "We are offering you a job to teach history at Liberty High School, I want you to go home talk with your family and call me on the Wednesday following the 4th of July with an answer. Of course I did call back and say yes. I have always believed that God must have intended me to teach at Liberty High School, There is no other way to explain the miraculous manner in which the job came to me.
Now for the second part of the question posed to me, why have, I stayed so long and never thought of leaving. This will not require a long drawn out story but can be explained in two parts. The first part of the answer lies in the view, I have from my classroom. I am awed each and every day by the beauty of the Peaks of Otter and feel privileged to teach in their shadow. The rest of the answer lies in the sense of duty, I have to my students, my peers, and the school. I most likely owe that sense of duty to my military background and it has become an integral part of my personality and belief systems. I am old fashion and live by a code that requires loyalty and creates an obligation to complete what, I start. When I was hired for this job, they asked what my goals were and I said, " to stay at Liberty High School and complete my career in teaching the future of America." I will complete my twentieth year at Liberty High School in May of 2014 and look forward to doing at least 3 more years teaching the students that they give me and thanking God for my great fortune.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Poem: Silent, White Perfection


Walking through the mountain meadow, made white with powdered snow
The wind gently blowing up tiny wisps of ermine, that swirl like fairy dust about your face

So silent and so perfect
So peaceful and so calm

Oh! how wonderful the moment, every sense in tune with creation
A symphony of emotions, that fill the heart with joyful feelings and beat with love for all

So simple and yet compelling
So cold and yet so warm

A look at sweet perfection, the very essence of Peace on Earth
Revealed by the power of nature, awakening the human soul.



Written by Mark R. Day 12/6/2014.  Copyright by Mark R. Day 12/6/2014, all rights reserved.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Poem: Burning Minds


Silently and Speechless, they seek, and search for a word to express their understanding.

Hands waver and halt! Heaving halting breaths suggest that the strokes on the tablet will scarce impart a cognizant thought

Heads twist as they wrestle in vain with the pressure to infuse the empty page with life

In the pursed lips and exasperated gasps they give voice to the the unspoken tension that seems to crush all hope.

Then:

The eyes reveal the moment!

The pencil falters momentarily, but then words flow forth and fill the empty space.

Another rite of passage!

A battle fought and won!

The challenge of the essay has now been overcome.



Written by Mark R. Day 11/30/2014.  Copyright by Mark R. Day 11/30/2014, all rights reserved


Poem: Your Story


Under the cover the pages were blank, white, and stainless. 
The undiscovered narrative awaited a soul to give it life
Over time the pages became embossed with your wit, love, and laughter

A testament to joy !
An ode to beauty !

A soliloquy of service !
The pages took up meaning; to a people in search of hope

Each word a humble offering
Each page a light to others in need of a tender touch

But now as we reach the final chapter
Your story's sudden end

We will follow your example and honor all you've done
Committed to our friendships and loving those in need of hope.

Written by: Mark R. Day 11/30/2014.  Copyright by Mark R. Day 11/30/2014, all rights reserved

 Written on the death of my colleague and friend Ms. Debi Reeves.  Debi was the best example of what a teacher should be.  She made a positive influence on the future generations.  She will be greatly missed.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Speech: Short talk for the Celebration of Veterans at Liberty High School [11-4-14]


 
     For many years, I believe we have been traveling down a path which has  distanced us from our veterans.  Holidays like Veterans Day and Memorial Day have seen their true purpose devalued by commercialism and self-indulgence.  Few, but veterans themselves,  attend the traditional ceremonies of remembrance and many Americans cannot answer simple questions about the origins or meaning of  the Memorial or Veterans Day holidays.  In my own life a statement once made by my father explained everything about the act of remembrance.  He said, that as long as I remembered those who had died they were still alive in my mind, but that if I  forgot them they would truly be gone forever.  That profound truth is the heart of my own belief in making time to remember the veterans. 
     You see remembrance is an act of instruction.  Remembrance is keeping alive something that was valuable but no longer seen and remembrance is making a personal connection.  You cannot expect a statue or bronze plaque on a National Park or in front of a Court House to teach the importance of our veterans to our history.  Monuments of stone and metal are mere reflections of what was and cannot speak to the reality of the veteran experience.  However, we are privileged to have the living veterans of our community and our country as a source of personal contact to the ideals of loyalty and self-sacrifice we hold dear. 
If, as I said, our veterans embody the values and ideals, which our founding fathers wrote into the Declaration of Independence and Constitution and form the foundations of our liberty; we owe it to ourselves to enjoin in conversation with them, learn from them, and follow their lead.  Perhaps it is only fitting that we stand here in front of this school to honor these veterans for they are our best teachers and our best mentors.  We should seek to emulate them for they know the lessons of responsibility and devotion better than anyone else.   
 
Speech written and given by Mark R. Day 11-5-14.  Copyright by Mark R. Day 11-5-14, all rights reserved.
This speech was written and given in support of a Celebration of Veterans sponsored by the students and staff of Liberty High School in Bedford, VA.  It has been slightly edited from the original version before being posted on this site.