Monday, May 19, 2014

Goodbye Graduates 2014

Today I gave a speech in front of the entire student body, parents, and leaders in the community at my high school's senior award ceremony. I wanted to share it with you: 

It is my privilege and honor to stand here today and address you one final time as my students before your big graduation day!

Throughout this year, I've felt that we've been kindred spirits of sorts because 10 years ago, I sat where you are now (points in general direction of where I sat). And even though a decade has come and gone, not a lot has changed:
  1.  Dr. Morgan is still the principal.
  2. Mr. Shirley is still school superintendent.
  3.  I too was a Cloud Kid.
  4. wouldn't have survived geometry without my composition notebook.
  5. And I can fold papel hamburger or hot dog style like a boss!

As a teacher, it is easy to become discouraged in today’s current educational climate between testing….more testing, RIGOR, and politicians continually changing the game in the name of reform. I am told my value as a teacher can be quantified mathematically using a formula no one can explain. With all of that being said, I want you to know that being your teacher this year has reminded me why I teach—for those moments when I see you grow not just as a student, but as a person. I teach for those “A’ha moments” when you get it or the look of pride and accomplishment on your face when you succeed. You have inspired me and I thank you for that.

I hate the idea that when it comes to books, learning or problems, hard is often seen as the opposite of fun. In my mind and in my classroom, I try for both. It’s strange to me that we should be so quick to give up when we are so willing to grapple for centuries if necessary with a single level of angry bird. Sometimes you will face difficulties not because you’re doing something wrong, but because you’re doing something right. And sitting here in this moment is apart of the right.

A couple of the highlights from this year for me and maybe yourself include: 6140, Meeting Shaggy and Scooby, Seaworld adventures, volunteering, when in doubt of the answer to a question you can always say Skinner or Chomsky, or perhaps it was Chase eating that really old “the cheez it”  that was hanging around my room. I think some of you might have addiction to cats or selfies. And this school year now holds the record for egg baby “accidents.”

Okay, so enough with the sentimentality and the walk down memory lane. The reason I am up here today is to present the Psychology Volunteer of the year award. There were seven students this year who qualified by completing between 21- 27 hours of Volunteer work at Bushnell Elementary School through my Psychology and Sociology courses. All of which are deserving of recognition! The cooperating teachers described your class as the best volunteer group ever.

This year’s recipient maintained straight A’s in not only my courses and multiple AP classes while maintaining a job outside of school. She has exhibited commitment; responsibility and a stellar work ethic that will help her continue to be a success as she moves on to USF to pursue a career in medicine. She was my head shrink and I extremely proud of this young lady. Please join me in recognizing Miss Leighanne H.

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