The best part of teaching horticulture with the Emerald Necklace Maintenance/DOC Collaborative is really connecting with the students, getting to know them as evolving people and having meaningful discussions about their lives before and during their time of incarceration. Then they leave and I never get to see what happened to them. This week while I was buying lunch I happened upon a student who had been in my class last year. He saw me first and walked up behind me to surprise me! We were both so excited to see each other. He is out on parole and living in a sober house and working full time. It was the highlight of my summer seeing him all smiles and proud of himself and happy to share all his good news with me. This is his first job and he introduced me to his manager… so many smiles, handshakes and hugs. He used to call me ‘Mom’ in class which always made me smile. It was such a pleasure to see that he had landed on his feet and was in a place of pride and respect for himself.