Yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak to our school’s outgoing Fifth Grade Class. I shared these words with them:
Always wear your helmet when you are riding your own skateboard or a small child’s skateboard. You can try to accomplish the most daring and extreme stunts imaginable. But remember that you will probably fall. A lot. The key is to keep getting up. No matter how many times you fail, keep trying until you get it right. And make sure you wear a helmet. I speak from experience.
This one I learned from our morning announcers. Be as Loud as you can. Find your voice and don’t be afraid to share it. Speak up when you know that something is not right. Be like Stanley Yelnats and stand up for others who need someone to stand up for them. Be courageous and be loud.
Treat everyone with care. There is an incredible opportunity in spreading positivity. Remember that each person that you meet may be carrying an enormous burden that you can’t see. And each of those people deserves to be treated with respect and kindness. Make someone else’s day brighter and you will make your own day brighter.
Leave your mark. Each of you has incredible gifts and talents. Some of you are amazing dancers. Some of you are amazing artists and phenomenal athletes. Some of you win us over with your incredible senses of humor. Some of you write the most incredible stories and poetry. Some of you have tremendous thinking skills to be great Chess players or even to beat me in Connect Four. Take your gifts and share them. Spread joy through your uniqueness. Be proud of your successes and celebrate your talents by sharing them.
When I had my own fifth grade classroom, my students and I used to use six simple words to capture the environment that we wanted to create.
Be nice. Work hard. Think big. I think that sums it up best.
If you approach your middle school years using these six words, you will find great successes.
In 2009, I sent my last fifth grade students off to Middle School. You all now hold a special place in my heart, because you are my first fifth grade class since then. My first promotion class as Principal. And today, I send you off to Middle School repeating those six simple words.
Be nice. Work hard. Think big.