California Educator

February / March 2018

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hen Daryl Hutchins first assigned his students to write a "letter to my future self," he thought it would b e a h i g h - m o t i v a t i o n , low-input activity to fill the last hectic few weeks of the school year. Little did he realize it would not only become a crowning achievement of his teaching career, but also have a deep impact on those students and their families for years to come. at much was brought home to Hutchins o v e r a y e a r a g o w h e n h e d e l i v e r e d a n unopened letter to the family of one of his former students, Aaron Vickers, who had tragically been killed at age 19 in a drive-by shooting in Stockton in 2002. e letter ended up generating local media coverage that culminated with a national segment on the CBS news show Inside Edition. Hutchins returns the sealed letters to his students after 15 years. He didn't learn of Vickers' death until the young man's former classmates at Plaza Robles High School in Stockton had received their letters. Now teaching continuation high school in the Plumas County Office of Educa- tion, Hutchins was stunned by the news that Vickers had died just two years after high school. Hutchins was able to track down Vickers' mother and sister to tell them he had a letter from Vickers that he wanted to deliver to them. " They were blown away, in tears and in shock," says Hutchins, now a Plumas County Teachers Association member. In fact, it was Vickers' family who contacted local media about the letter. Less than two weeks later, a TV crew from Inside Edi- tion drove Vickers' mom and sister some four hours from Leers From Their Younger Selves Teacher delivers students' thoughts, hopes about the future By Dina Martin Educator Daryl Hutchins hugs Aaron Vickers' mother. Hutchins delivered a letter written by Vickers, who died two years after graduating from high school, to Vickers' family. 18 Perspectives M E M B E R S P O T L I G H T Daryl Hutchins

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