It's that time of year again - yearbook time. A time when, with grinning and eager faces you plop your green book of memories in front of me and ask me to write. "Write something really good," you urge. "Something that's really, like, wow."
What do I write to you?
I'd like to tell you how beautiful I think you are. How each day you show me how mature, caring, and free-thinking you can be. I'd like to say thank you for all the times you came to someone's rescue, helped someone out, or didn't knock someone down when you wanted to, even when we both know they deserved it.
I'd like to tell you what to expect next year. If you're graduating, the world is about to swallow you whole. You won't be part of a group anymore; you're going to be on your own. And that although you may feel lonely, you will grow more in the next twelve months than you have in the last twelve years. There are so many firsts you are about to discover - your first real love, your first life-altering decisions, your first true disappointments. None of these things are easy, but they are each so worth it. If you are headed into your junior or senior year of high school, you have learning coming your way, too. You will have new and difficult classes. Classes that are all the more important because you have realized something - there's life after high school. The things you do here will affect you in your adult life. Suddenly, everything you do matters. Has consequences. I don't envy you this "oh, shit" moment, but I always enjoy the growth that comes from it.
And finally, I'd like to give you a piece of advice. There is a quote that I have used for years as a guide for how I would like to live my life. I don't always manage it, but I do try. These words have served me well as a guide and I hope they can do something similar for you:
"Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of 'crackpot' than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that are important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost."I hope you all know how much you are loved and respected. Have a wonderful summer, and I'll see you next year.
Your Favorite English Teacher,