Every year I write a few words to the students as they leave the classroom and head off into the summer, and their future. This letter is one last pause; one final reflection on the lessons hopefully learned during our time together.
You are leaving the classroom. School is out. The desks are empty, the lockers are cleared, and the homework is through. First, take a moment and consider what you learned. Think beyond the subjects. Look past the projects. See further than the report cards and the national competitions that give witness to what tremendous students you are. What were the lessons? What did you learn about life? What did you learn about yourself?
Life is a classroom. It is an open, mysterious, wonderful daily adventure in learning. The attributes that make you great students, will also make you great people. This year, we joined many wonderful characters that were on their own journeys in the classroom of life. In a fictional way, Edward Tulane (The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane), Katrina Katrell (Zorgamazoo), Jessica Carlisle (The Running Dream), Ava Anderson (All the Answers), Nolan Byrd (Shredderman), and Basil Pepperell (The Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Basil) were on their own similar adventure. These characters learned great lessons about the world around them, but more importantly, they learned about themselves. They learned to cherish their unique talents and perspectives, as well as the people in their lives.
I hope to hear from you as you continue this journey in the classroom of life. My own journey has been enriched and enhanced by each of you, and I look forward to learning from your personal adventures. As Jessica Carlisle stated after crossing the finish line (with some minor adjustments):
“I’m aware that my friends and my teachers are here, telling me how proud they are. It’s all fuzzy in my head because I’m shaky and exhausted, but I’m also aware that I am very, very happy. I’m surrounded by people that have helped me in some way to get over that finish line. But as we gather, I realize something. That wasn’t a finish line for me. Ten months ago, it required a great effort for me to stand in front of this classroom. But today, I stand in front of my classmates with confidence. Ten months ago, I wondered if I could do anything. This year has made me believe there is nothing I can’t do.
This is my new starting line.”
Thank you for making this school year a wonderful “run” for all of us, and hopefully through it all, finding a new “starting line” for you.
Always your teacher; Always your friend,