When you are having fun, one hundred and seventy two days fly by; still, it seems like just yesterday that I was welcoming students back to school. As I look in the rearview mirror and think about their academic, athletic, and artistic growth, it makes me proud of our students and the wonderful teachers and coaches that have helped each student along the way. Of course, it has not been all melody without discord, and this is how it should be, because students sometimes learn their most lasting and important lessons by making a misstep–choosing not to study to see what will happen, being less inclusive than she knows she should be, saying something that is not as kind as expected. These are the moments of course correction that can lead to first-rate lifetime trajectories.
Each year at about this time I have the pleasure of helping a class continue on to the high school. I know this eighth grade is ready for the new challenges and opportunities ahead. My message to students was to consider four numbers—the amount of information created each day (2.5 terabytes or 2.5 x 1018, the world’s population (7,479,000,000), the number of cell phone apps (5,000,000) and ONE, the number of lives each of us gets to experience. My hope was that each student would pay more attention to the quality of their connections with others, avoiding the pitfall of trying to live a “Facebook life” filled with meaningless posts, mirror-like narcissism, and unending comparison. Instead, I encouraged this wonderful group of young people to focus on matters of the heart–being generous of spirit in small and large ways and on being lionhearted in doing what is right.
It has been my great pleasure to work with the Middle School students this year. Being part of helping young people explore, grow, and change is a gift for which I am very grateful. Sharing this opportunity with such a fine group of fellow educators and caring parents has made this a wonderful experience for me. I wish all of you a safe, healthy, and friendship-filled summer. Should I be able to be helpful to you in any way between now and school start, please do not hesitate to contact me.