Editor’s Note: This is the Continuation speech delivered via Zoom to the Colorado Academy Fifth Grade class on June 1, 2020, by Lower School Principal Angie Crabtree.
Welcome students, parents, family, friends, faculty, and staff to the Colorado Academy Fifth Grade Continuation Ceremony. I know this is not the Continuation we had planned for you, or the one that you may have envisioned, but please know that this is a wonderful day to honor and celebrate our Fifth Graders, the Class of 2027.
In August, the Fifth Grade classes and I met to discuss their role as leaders and to develop their commitments to the Lower School for the upcoming school year. As a collective group, they shared the following commitments in the August Town Meeting:
We will show acts of kindness to others.
We will be respectful and helpful.
We will have a positive attitude.
We will be inclusive.
We will show leadership in our actions and words.
The Lower School believes that being a responsible community member is an important life skill. It has been exciting to see these Fifth Graders perform various jobs within the Lower School and mentor younger students as Mustang Mentors. This amazing group of Fifth Grade leaders recorded 1,236 mentor hours beginning in September and going through March. Mustang Mentors, your efforts truly made the Lower School a better place this year!
Fifth Graders, you began the school year with a can-do attitude and a difference-maker spirit…and as we close out this memorable and very different kind of ending to the school year, I see you with that same zip and zest.
You are a class that will be remembered as trailblazers who transitioned to Zoom school in your final trimester of Lower School. Each time I met with you this Spring to check in, you expressed how much you missed being with your teachers and friends on our beautiful CA campus; but in true fashion, you were able to highlight the bright spots of learning from home, too. Many of you shared that you explored a new language, you experimented as bakers and chefs, you designed code, you learned to play musical instruments, you spent more time outside, and you enjoyed quality time with your family members.
A very special and heartfelt ‘thank you’ to your families for supporting you throughout your Lower School experience, but especially during this year, as they supported you in learning from home in the recent weeks.
The book, Say Something, by Peter H. Reynolds has been our focus throughout the year in Town Meetings. The book explores the many ways that a single voice can truly make a difference. Each of us has the opportunity to say something with our words, our actions, and our voices. There are so many ways to tell the world who you are, what you are thinking, and what you believe. Within the book, the author encourages you to determine how you want to say something. It could be with your words, with your art, with your music, with your poetry, with your courage, or simply with your presence. It does not need to be perfect, it just needs to be from your heart. If you see an injustice, say something peacefully, and inspire others to do the same.
Words can communicate emotions, passions, and ideas that can help change the world around you. Your voice can inspire, heal, and transform. Some people find it easier to say something than others, but everyone has something to say. Fifth Graders, sometimes you will say something and no one will be listening, but keep saying what is in your heart…and you may be surprised to find the whole world listening. The world is waiting for your unique voice to change the world and show us the way!
The Lower School faculty, staff, and I are extremely proud of you and your wonderful impact and influence in our Lower School community. Please remember that you always have a special place in our hearts, and you are always a part of our Lower School family. We are excited to see the many things you will do to continue your role as difference makers in Middle School and beyond.
Mrs. Bartel and Mrs. Golden composed our theme song for this year, and today, I share those words with you as a guide to begin your next adventure in Middle School.
Your words can be of welcome,
To make friends along the way.
Your voice can change the world my friends.
Be brave in what you say.
Fifth Graders, we celebrate you today!
Congratulations on taking the next step to Middle School!