As another school year comes to a close, I want you to know how proud I am of you. All of you. Even those of you I butt heads with on a regular basis. In the midst of your mixed-up hormonal lives, you may not see it, but you have all matured both physically and emotionally. It is always my great pleasure to watch you grow from scared new sixth graders to independent and ready-to-soar eighth graders. There are some things I have not gotten a chance to teach you, so just in case we don’t get to see each other next year, I am going to tell you now.
1. You are not your grade. My college professor told us this the first time he handed back papers. “God loves you just the same whether you got an A or an F,” he always said. Powerful words to live by. Just as you are not your grade, you are not your score on a standardized test, nor the number of days you spent in ISS this year.
2. There is so much more to life than the little bit of world you see right now. Many of you don’t get many opportunities to travel outside of this area, or even to the next city over. You miss out on cultural opportunities, chances to view colleges, and other things many children from affluent families take for granted. Trust me when I tell you there is so much more. Find a way to go experience it.
3. I believe in you. Forget about the dumb things you did this year. You are between the ages of 10 and 15. Doing things you regret is part of growing up. Take your experiences and learn from them. You will do a whole lot of growing up over the summer. Come back strong and proud. I know you can do it. I know you will do it.
4. I love you. I am on your back every minute because I want good things for you. I force you to bring your own supplies to teach you responsibility. I move your seat away from your friends because I want you to stop talking so you can learn. I make you call home when you misbehave because I want you to have consistency.
As this school year comes to an end, know you will be missed. Eighth graders – I will think of you often. Seventh- and sixth-graders, I hope to see you next year. If I don’t, please remember, I will also be thinking of you. Some day you will go out into the world and make yourself proud! And, when you play your first NFL game, graduate from college, or receive an award for the great things you’ve done, invite me. I will be there.