23 The AHS Journalism Family out for a family style meal during the San Francisco convention. When the staff is small and fund is large, everyone can go for free, and did. The bonds formed during trips are some of the strongest ones that will ever occur. Photo by Thomas Kaup. students to compete means that they do not have to try to please me by doing more than they are able to do. Achieving the Dow Jones Special Recognition Adviser award was the culmination for me. I will be, and am, forever grateful for the recognition. Because of that honor, I get to be a fierce advocate for my students on a national level. Because of that honor, I could lift the trophy up for Mom and Dad to see from wherever they went after leaving this world. Moms and dads like that sort of thing, and sons and daughters like that they like that sort of thing. My sixth-period class did not get the honored seating at the assembly by raising the most money for the Relay for Life. We did not get the certificate for bringing the most food for the food bank drive. What that class did get is another day feeling valued and respected for just who they are. I do not need or want anything more from them then just their presence. That is an incredible gift, one they never ever realize enough. Each and every one of them is indeed a remarkable and worthy gift that is more precious than thirty pieces of silver, or twenty cans of Chicken of the Sea tuna. We belong to a great community of journalism teachers and students. I applaud the achievements of my colleagues and know the hours sacrificed by teachers and students to create astounding papers, yearbooks and web sites. These achievements deserve all of the recognition they receive and more. These people have full backpacks and water bottles to climb up Mount Scholastic Journalism. I can watch them climb with brotherly affection and not get down on myself because I cannot join them. Besides, my Tacoma is air-conditioned and has cushioned shocks. I can see all I need to right through my windshield, and it is a beautiful thing. Being a fierce advocate means that I will protect my kids from competing where the odds will never be in their favor. I will protect them from my own ego and drive to be recognized. I feel honored to be given this opportunity to share my voice for the students in our school. They are pretty amazing young men and women. I care for them as strongly as I care for anyone, both the students who have very little in terms of material possessions and the ones who come to school in their own newer cars. We are a family. I am a fierce advocate for my students. There it is, just around the bend of the interstate, Mount Scholastic Journalism in the full JPEG glory of 300 megabytes. It is truly a beautiful and amazing sight. I am so honored to be there with my kids and with all of you. No thanks, I do not need a water bottle or backpack, I am fine here in the Tacoma. I brought hazelnut coffee and a couple chocolate chip cookies.