Tuesday, May 9, 2017


I was scurrying between buildings trying to catch up with myself yesterday, when I noticed that Pam must have brought her dog, Jake, to campus for some student time. She had him on a leash outside her office and when I came around the corner, saw them, and yelled, "Jaaaaaaaaakkkkkkeeeeee!"

Then I heard, "Crannnnnnddddaaallll."

Coming up the stairs, coincidentally, was Jacob Knostman, a student I had in EN 11 and EN 12 four years ago. He was heading out of one final into another, and soon will be one of many graduating students from Fairfield to become the Class of 2017.

I need to pause for a second here.

There were three people and one dog in the courtyard when I screamed. The other person besides Pam and me, just happened to be Jake. I took it as a sign from the Great Whatever to use the coincidence to catch up briefly with one of the best, most incredible, and impressive students I've taught at Fairfield. Actually, I often name him in my head as one of the most promising students I've taught in my life. He's pretty amazing and soon will be moving to San Francisco to begin a career (I'm guessing) in economics. Jacob has one of those incredible minds that is miraculously stupendous at everything. He's mathematical, logical, creative, witty, contemplative, philosophical, and deeply interested in this thing called knowledge.

I should mention, too, that Jacob Knostman was a stellar athlete on the Men's Lacrosse team and, as a midfielder, co-captain of this year's team (I drive by a billboard everyday on my way home from work that I think is him - hard to tell with the helmet on).

Wow, it is hard to believe that he's already a senior embarking into the career-world --- I noticed too that he has to shave now...I don't remember that when he was a freshman.

In 2013-2014, I had the privilege of mentoring his academic skills while wrote and researched "Running for Arthritis" and even quoted from my colleague, Sonya Huber, and her essay where she wrote, "If pain is a language, I have the accent on my tongue. I do not yet dream in pain, but a three-year immersion has stripped my skeleton's previous fluency" (p. 1). I remember that Jacob, too, wrote an original analysis of the texts we read in an article he called, "Competition Makes More Than a Part-Time Warrior with Wit," where he explored the competitive and athletic mindset of characters in Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian and Margaret Edson's Wit.

What I loved most about working with Jake that year, however, was his sincere kindness, his interest in the world, his curiosity, and his willingness to give his best to everything around him. I realized he was a one-of-a-kind kid - and, yes, I'm partial to any and all I teach and speak similar praise of his classmates.

Phew. It flies. Zip. Zap. Zoom.

Being Crandall, of course, I had to get a photograph of Jake with Jake (and no, not Jake from State Farm) for the good ol' blog (my online journal of daily thoughts). As we move with the rhythm and flow of life, and people weave in and out of it more and more rapidly, it is always special to be reunited by chance (especially when I was yelling to a dog and a human answered).

I write this post to simply say, "Good Luck, Buddy. You got this. You've always had what it takes. Congratulations on all the celebration to come. You're a special man, indeed."

Your family should be proud.

Huber, Sonya. "A Day in the Grammar of Disease." Brevity A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction. N.p., 13 May 2013. Web. 10 Oct. 2013.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much Professor Crandall. That is some very high praise that I am not sure I deserve, but I truly appreciate it and all that you did for me and my classmates over the years. You were one of the most influential teachers I have ever had with your passion for what you do and your ability to get others excited about topics and push themselves to pursue them. Not to mention your genuine kindness to everyone around you. Thank you!