This week was the last week of the school year and every day felt like Friday. It was joyous and as all culminating moments are, bittersweet because, at the end of this week, we won’t be back on Monday.
This week all fifth graders wrote reflections on their time in elementary school. They ranged from the first day of school moments to the best friend forever meeting, to the field trips to the ridiculous moment at lunch. All of these memories make up what mattered to our fifth graders.
On Thursday morning, five students stood and addressed the audience at culmination. They spoke of their challenges.
Having a disability and the daily challenge it presents to their learning and happiness.
Being retained and watching their classmates move ahead.
Coming to school and not knowing a word of English.
Feeling like an outsider and trying to fit in.
As these ten- and eleven-year-olds’ told of their fears, they spoke for many, perhaps all in the crowd.
I have difficulties controlling my emotions. It’s hard to make friends.
I was embarrassed and thought people would put me down.
I didn’t think I could learn.
I was afraid.
And they reflected on who helped them and what they did to overcome.
My family supported me.
My friends corrected my English.
A boy in my class showed me around.
My teacher helped me.
I got better and better.
I didn’t give up.
It was a lesson in how to be vulnerable. It was a reminder of how difficult it is to learn and what courage, support, and perseverance it takes to keep learning. Without realizing it, these brave children spoke for all.
As the culminating class of 2017 stood, there was a palpable sense of pride and hope.
I was lucky to be there.
This week I celebrate culminating moments.
Read more celebrations here on Ruth Ayers Writes.