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“GET DOWN! THE GRENADES ARE COMING!” bellowed the commander off to my right. I ducked into the trench and shut my eyes tightly, pressing myself against the wall of the trench and waiting for the impending explosion which would hit any moment now. Thud. Slowly, I opened my eyes and stared at the wadded up paper “grenade” lying on the ground before me. Looking around at the thicket of desks that had served as the trench, I spotted my commander, my fifth-grade teacher Mr. David Vode, a glint in his eye as he made his way through the ocean of desks and wadded paper.
We had just finished another weekly “historical re-enactment” with Mr. Vode, intended to illustrate a key concept of American history. Although these unorthodox lessons often vexed other teachers, they brought the stories to life right off the pages of our textbooks. In those moments, we all became soldiers, experiencing the surrealism of the terrors of trench warfare. Mr. Vode had a way of using his passionate fire for teaching in his eyes to light those of his students’, and although he has long since left the elementary school to pursue greater things, I never forgot the way my friends’ eyes would light up with enthusiasm in his class. Mr. Vode developed in me a newfound love for learning as I finally realized that by learning, I could better understand human behavior and the world today. Although he may only have taught me fifth-grade history, the love for learning he cultivated has emanated into every discipline I venture into. His insistence that learning be fun helped me spark my love for learning which today, pushes me to be the most informed citizen of the world that I can be.
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