This week, I am saying farewell to The Academy's class of 2011. This has been an amazing year of ups and downs, from the very first day of school until today's model United Nations meeting. These eighth graders have amazed me and inspired me, and I feel more secure knowing that the future of our nation rests in their hands.
I've written a few words about my students.
David: I look up to you, and not only because of your height and mine. As a graduating eighth grader, you have a stronger work ethic than many 29-year-olds I know - yet you maintain your unwavering sense of humor and irony.
Madeleine: For you, I have a quotation from someone you might know a little something about - John Lennon. "When I was five years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down 'happy.' They told me I didn't understand the assignment, and I told them they didn't understand life." Continue to march to the beat of your own drummer.
Emily: You are a force to be reckoned with, with your debate and lawyer skills you in demonstrated in Social Studies this year. You have presence, and I know you are destined and determined to make that presence known as you move forward from here.
Peter: The way I see it, the difference between cynicism and a sense of social justice is that with the former, a person merely complains about the world and in the latter, he seeks to change it. You epitomize the latter, and I know you will accomplish great things.
Bori: You are someone who very respectfully questions the status quo. Your concern for others combined with your thoughtful take on society will take you far. Whenever your hand went up in class, I knew that I was in for a challenge and that important things would be said. You don't waste words.
Patrick: From your portrayal of William Lloyd Garrison to your take on the problems currently plaguing Ireland, you have demonstrated your capabilities tenfold. You always brought a smile to my face, and I wish you all the best, whether here or in Ireland.
Nina: You have shown time and time again in Social Studies your willingness to work hard, think deeply, and ask questions at just the right time. The way you work with your classmates and your positive attitude are two qualities that stand out.
Isabella: I love the way you approach the world with a don't-mess-with-me attitude. You are intelligent, opinionated, and determined. Whenever you meet resistance in life, I know you will overcome.
Roger: Roger, you bring an energy to the class that is certainly missed when you are not there. And although you may have had more magnetic dots moved to the right than any other student, you also prompted thought that was unequaled. Continue to question the authority of those in power (but please, be kind to your teachers).
Erica: There is so much to say that it is hard to know where to begin. You treat everyone with compassion and respect. You work hard. You make every effort to see all sides of history and you laugh at its ironies. I am going to miss you.
Sherman: You amaze me. You are kind and respectful, quiet but not shy. Your sense of humor is unmatched and the way you do sarcasm is praiseworthy. I knew the depths of your abilities when you announced to the class, "I hate John C. Calhoun," and I made you play him in our reenactment the next week. You made me proud with your American history knowledge on our D.C. trip.
Joyce: Nine times out of 10, you were the first one to class and you always greeted me with a smile. Your attitude is one worth emulating and your cheerfulness is contagious.
Teala: In Social Studies you have been a quiet tower of strength. Your words were always carefully chosen, but the quality of your writing indicates that you always know just what you are doing. I will miss you.