Full Circle

A few of my posts in the past have been about the students I work with through my high school fly fishing club. One student, JB, made a lot of the posts and a lot of the pictures. He was a student in the classroom, and a student on the river. He fell in love with fly-fishing the moment I taught him how to cast. He also quickly learned the ways of the tying vise. He became the president of the fly fishing club, and before I knew it he was graduating high school. I was proud of the young man JB had become, and even more proud of the awesome fly angler he had become.


Once JB graduated high school, he focused on college and transitioning to that busy life. I too had refocused my attention to my new job and at a different school. Our paths slowly grew a part as we were both focusing on new chapters in our lives. However, from time to time we would check in on each other, asking about fishing reports, sharing pictures, and just talking about life. He was doing great! He got in the swing of things at college, and is dominating the student life.


Recently, I texted him about a lake that he and I frequented while he was with me at the high school. He said he had just gone out there and caught me up on the report. Towards the end of our conversation, he mentioned he went fishing with guys from the local fly shop. I thought “cool, glad you are buddies with those guys. Wish I could still be able to spend time with him.” Then, JB dropped a line on me that I could not believe. “Mr. Mattick, I am the newest employee at the Fly Shop!”



I may have gotten a little teary-eyed when I heard that news. JB had gone from a student in my math class, to an employee at the local fly shop. He had the knowledge, skills and personality, why wouldn’t any fly shop hire him?? I was so proud of JB. Then what he said next really made me smile and a tear did indeed roll down my cheek. “Mr. Mattick, I have a lot to thank you for, that’s for sure!”


I couldn’t wait to go visit him at the shop the next day! There I found JB, proud as all can be. He was so dialed in to the shop’s routines and was helping customers as I walked in. He just looked up and smiled. Next thing I knew, JB was helping me! Life had come FULL CIRCLE. He was picking out the bugs I needed for my next outing and giving me all the details of the fishing report. I was now a student of my former student.


This is why I do what I do. Inspire. Teach. Educate. Build relationships. With kids of all ages. In hopes that they might tap in to their dreams and passions and explode as amazing human beings. In this case, JB happened to find a passion that we shared. Fly-fishing. And to know that I inspired him, educated, him, bonded with him, and he has grown into the young man he is today, is priceless.