Dreaming to live: Joshua Dinkler says goodbye

Josh Dinkler gives parting advice to sophomore Avery James on one of his last days at Foothill. Trevor Jordan/The Foothill Dragon Press.

For the past nine years, beloved teacher, musician, father and friend Josh Dinkler has patiently waited for the opportunity to broaden the horizons of his career while fulfilling his dreams in the process.

It started out as an ordinary day for Dinkler, after a car malfunction on his way to work, when his wife left a message on his cell phone. The message involved the beginning of her day and some news about the kids, and a nonchalant mentioning about a call from the Department of Defense Education Activity.

The call was made informing Dinkler of an interview for a teaching position in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom of Bahrain is an archipelago of 33 low lying islands at the heart of the Persian Gulf off the coast of Saudi Arabia.

A bewildered yet anxious Dinkler proceeded to follow through with the call, and upon doing so, was requested to be able to depart for the country in less than two weeks. This meant parting from his current teaching job at Foothill.

Officially announced to students during his classes at Foothill on September 21, Dinkler gave everyone the facts of the situation. He explained to the class that he would be embarking on a life experience to the Middle East, teaching students on a 28-acre gated compound at the Navy base. Dinkler also discussed the dangers of terrorism in the area and the cultural adaptation he would be forced to handle.

Since he accepted the job, Dinkler has had to undergo anti-terrorism training and protocol as well as safety precautions for entering the Middle Eastern country.

At the same time, Dinkler spoke on adapting to the Arabic culture.

“I will eventually learn to read, write, and speak Arabic, which is most definitely going to be difficult seeing that it is a Category 4 language, but I am always up for new challenges. But anyways it’s definitely going to be a life changing experience that is beneficial for my whole family. My wife was born in al Khabar and she has her father there so I’m excited about that, and plus the kids are going to get to see their ‘jiddo’ – it’s the Arabic translation for Grandpa.”

Dinkler also spoke of raising his kids in a completely different world.

Dinkler chuckles, “The only thing my son is worried about is if there’s a big playground. My daughter’s too young to know what’s going on anyways.”

“I feel that it’s definitely going to prove beneficial because my family is going to have the privilege and opportunity of growing up somewhere outside the United States.”

“You know, it’s always been a dream of mine to travel to the Middle East, so I feel this is the opportunity to take advantage of, and if I don’t, I think that I wouldn’t be able to live with that decision,” said Dinkler. “That being said, I encourage you all to follow your dreams and live out your lives to the fullest of potential.”

Dinkler was asked how he has been dealing with the stressfulness of the situation and how he has coped with some of the emotional drain.

“It’s difficult saying goodbye to my home. I grew up here in Ventura, and have had some truly beautiful times here. The people here are amazing and have been instrumental in helping me with the process.”

Christopher Prewitt, a close friend of Dinkler’s and history teacher at Foothill said, “You’ve got to go now or never; there’s no time like the present. This has been his life long dream for over nine years now and the stars have lined up for destiny, so I told him he’s going.” Prewitt smiles, as if to give recognition to Dinkler.

Jason Dinkler, his older sibling and a fellow teacher, said, “If I could describe my brother in one word, it would be inspiring. He has inspired me to live, and I view him as my new overseas mentor, because that has always been one of my dreams to travel the world as well.”       

Students and teachers alike have bombarded Dinkler with parting words and going-away parties and have expressed their love for him.

“One year at a time, one day at a time,” said Dinkler, “I guess we’ll see how it goes.”

On one of his final days at Foothill, he speaks final words of encouragement meant to bring out the best in his students, and inspire each individual person to live life to their best ability.

Dinkler closes his fist while speaking to his fourth period Spanish class, “This is how most of us live.” He then pauses and spreads his fingers as far as they can go, faces the palm of his hand to the class, “I want to encourage you all to live like this.” He breathes deeply, instilling upon students words of wisdom from deep within his heart.

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