I just got an e-mail from Nay. He is working and going to school for an MBA. He is doing great and his mom is proud. He said it was the college recommendation I wrote that turned him around. I wrote hundreds of letters and can't remember what I wrote in each but I know ones for kids like Nay took a lot of effort. I refused to lie or even exaggerate the truth so I spent a long time delving into his character and wrote down where strengths and possibilities.
I never gave those letters a second thought after I sent them out but I now know if one affected Nay so strongly, others must have been affected too.
My AP did not think much of me as a teacher. He still makes disparaging comments about me, mostly to a staff of newbies who have no idea who I am, but that doesn't matter. The kids were the one I worked for. Their words are the words that mean something. Their success and my part in it is all that counts.