Good-bye, 2011-2012

The Year of the Chevrotain

The Year of the Chevrotain

Here is the text of my address to our eighth-graders at their rising-up ceremony. I think this is what I want to remember most about the year.

First: congratulations to you all. I am glad to have been your teacher and I am glad to celebrate your successful rising-up from our school. Despite the small size of your class, each of you has had a significant, positive, and important impact on us, our community, and our school. That we are all here today after the good times and the challenging times means that we have learned from one another how to get along, how to understand one another, and how to help one another.

I, for one, would not be the teacher I am today without your help. You have all taken a chance on us; you have all risked telling us, in a bunch of different ways, what you need from school; you have all found ways to be patient with us and helped us find ways to be patient with you, and at the end of our three years together I can very honestly say that all of you have grown up beyond my wildest expectations. You have learned kindness to others and kindness to yourself, and I can see in you the incredible and clearly good people you are, you have been, and you will become. You have challenged me to do better, to be kinder, and to keep learning no matter what.

A couple of you like to walk around asking us, “What’s good? What’s good, bro?”

Here’s my answer: You are. You are good kids. Good people. Good students. Good problem-solvers. You may not have chosen all the problems we asked you to tackle. You may not have chosen all the problems that are out there in the world left to solve. But you have chosen to let go of anger; you have learned determination; you have learned that you can hold on to what’s right in tough situations.

Remember those things. You are good. You have learned. You have helped build a community of friends and caring adults who will stick with you as you build your futures. You can go ahead into life and look back for support without going backwards.

Keep going. Keep doing good. Keep being kind. Your success and happiness inspire us.

Congratulations and welcome to high school.

Leave a Reply