These are my remarks for this group of Eighth Graders as they move to become the freshman class of Colchester High School 2012.
Eighth graders, before I give you the final few words, I would like to ask you to do something. Please stand. Turn to face your family and teachers. These are folks who have believed in you and decided that you matter so much they are willing to do whatever it takes to give you roots to be safely grounded to home and wings to let you fly free to find your hearts’ desires. Offer them a moment of gratitude with a round of applause. Thank you. Please be seated.
I have been thinking a lot lately about courage and heroes. Courage is defined as: the ability to do something that frightens one and: strength in the face of pain or grief. A hero is: a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.
I thought about how I would act if I knew someone were looking up to me as a hero. (I think about strange things when I run~actually many times). Who would look up to me as a hero and why? That made me think about my heroes. Why are they my heroes and did I truly know their hearts? Their courageous hearts? Some of my heroes, like yours, I have never met. Some I know VERY well. And many, I greet nearly every day as they file through the doors of CMS with, “Good Morning! Please remove your hats and hoods. Thank you!.”
Yes, each one of you is my hero. Did you know that? Did you know that I am awed by your courage? Did you know that I admire you and believe in you? Did you know that YOU MATTER? Yes you matter, to me, to your families, to your teachers, and to each other. Each of you faces challenges EVERY DAY! Some face pain and grief EVERY DAY. For some of you getting out of bed takes every ounce of courage. But you do it. You show up for CMS, for life EVERY DAY. And because of that courage that you display, EVERY DAY~ Strength in the face of pain, grief or fear, YOU do what needs to be done. You all have great courage and strong courageous hearts. That looks different for EACH one of you. Look at the kid sitting next to you. You don’t know what she or he faces that is scary or hard or painful or sad. But she or he faces something that is a challenge every day and is my hero. I admire each one of you for having the courage to get up, come to school, share a laugh or two with friends, learn something at school, face issues that many adults never have to deal with, and still have energy to support your friends and care about each other.
Here is the take away: YOU MATTER! Who you are matters ~ to me; and maybe someone you don’t know thinks you are special. You can make a difference and you do make a difference every minute of every day. You are strong, stronger than you think. Stronger than they think. You are my heroes. So, take care of each other. You might be someone’s hero. Someone who is sitting next to you or watching from a distance. Take care of each other for the next four years and beyond. And if you need a booster~you know where I am and I will remind you that you are my hero, you matter, you are courageous!
And now, students please rise. Principal Minor, May I proudly present my courageous eighth grade students, my heroes, for acceptance as the Colchester High School Class of 2016.