Most of my day is spent with one or both of my parents. I wake up in the morning and eat breakfast with my parents. I drive to school with my parents. I walk the same halls as my parents. I am coached by my dad. I drive home from practice with my dad. I eat dinner with my parents. I go to bed and then I do it again. I am the only student at Leesville that experiences this phenomenon.
My parents are Leesville’s very own Paul and Heather Dinkenor. My mom teaches twelfth grade English, and my dad teaches several different history classes. He also head coaches the girls and boys varsity soccer teams.
As a result, my high school experience at Leesville is little bit different than everyone else’s.
Most students who attend Leesville get dropped off in the carpool line by their mom or dad and don’t see them again until after 2:18, when school gets out. I, however, have the gift of going to school with my parents and possibly, hopefully, one day having them as teacher.
That is a question I get a lot: Would you want to have your parents as your teacher one day? I have given it a lot of thought and feel that my parents and I have such a close relationship that it wouldn’t be “weird” or “tense” in class, as some might think.
I’m not the only one who gets along well with my parents — they both have been voted “most popular teacher” as a superlatives in the yearbook at Leesville multiple times and are well known throughout the school because of how involved they are in the community. Their popularity at Leesville was a source of anxiety for me, however.
I was so worried going into my freshman year at Leesville, unaware of how my teachers would interact with me, knowing that they have been to my house for dinner or have gone out to lunch with my parents. My whole dynamic of high school would be different than any of my friends, and that scared me.
To my surprise, nothing is really different. For example, in between classes I walk by my mom’s classroom and yell through the door, “Hey, Mom!” My good relationships with my teachers is not because they are friends with my parents, but because I, as their student, made an effort to stand out in their class.
The one thing that is significantly different from most students is my athletic high school experience. While trying out for the soccer team at Leesville, which is head coached by my dad, I knew it was a lose-lose situation no matter what happened. If I made the team, it was “taking the spot of someone who deserved it more.” If I didn’t make the team, I was “such a bad soccer player even my dad didn’t want me on varsity.” It was a tricky situation to navigate, but I was fortunate enough in the end to make the team. To my surprise, there wasn’t anyone who was negative towards that decision– everyone was just happy I was a part of something new!
I also became really close with my dad during high school soccer season with him as my coach. I was recovering from a surgery and having my dad right next to me to watch every tackle I made and every misstep I took was reassuring on the scary road recovery. We got to drive to every game together and talk in the car after about how it went.
My dad has been at Leesville since the school first opened its doors 25 years ago, and my mom has been here for quite a significant time as well. This means that I have grown up at Leesville. Leesville has given to me a lot and so I feel as if it’s my duty to repay the school. Leesville is where my parents met each other for the first time. Leesville is where I was almost born (truly, my mom went into labor while watching my dad coach against Millbrook soccer). Leesville is where I would spend my mornings before preschool and elementary school started for me. Leesville is where I would spend a portion of my summer helping my parents set their rooms up for the upcoming year.
Two years ago, I never would have guessed that such a positive outcome would come from having my parents at the same school as me, but I am fortunate for everything to have worked out as well as it did!