Recently I did a profile for Poetry Lab, that asked what was something people did not know about me. I said that I was a board member of the Optimist Club. Those who have read my poetry, will find very little optimism anywhere within the lines. I thing my blurbs for my book, “The Truck Driver’s Daughter” point out the realism and violence of life that seems to creep in them. I cannot lie, and pretend they are inaccurate representation of my poetry, and myself.
Last night I attended the Cerritos Optimist International Installation dinner. Like all installation dinners, it welcomes the new board, and new president. Offers entertainment and conversation with people you normally have little time to do more than shake hands and get to your seat before a meeting. Thanks those who came before and those who put in the extra effort. I have been a member for 3 years (as of September 8th) yet seen 4 of these, due to an invite by a close friend.
The past year I took on the Octagon Club at the school I teach at. I won’t lie it was HARD. I was told the biggest the club had ever got was 60 people. No issue. I could handle that. And there were so many students that they could not fit in my classroom. They were standing in the hallway. Turns out that day there was over 150 students trying to be part of the club. By the time we chartered we had over 200 students. It was amazing. The students who came in as my board, were so excited, but absolutely unprepared for the work that would follow. By the 3rd month in, those who started on the board gave up and stopped doing everything. I had the great fortune of having a total of 6 students who stepped up. 3 who are close to my heart, Jasmine Chen, Tiffany Liu, and Sarah Tseng, and 3 who became close to my heart Jin Kim, NAncy Cheoung, and Nathan Thumwanit. Others helped along the way but without those 6 people we would have never made it through the year, and the club would have died. And what a shame that would have been because they are the largest service club of teenagers in not only the district, but the region.
I name them all today because they, along with another 200 students deserve recognition, because last night I was named Optimist of the Year, for the work that went into this Club. I would not have been that fortunate had it not been for these students jumping in every time something needed to be done.