Celebrate: Culminating Moments

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.

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12 thoughts on “Celebrate: Culminating Moments

  1. What an great way to finish the year. These students sound like they have really grown. This celebration has me thinking about how to change things up next year… thanks!

  2. No wonder you cried. Your students shared the deepest parts of themselves. It’s in sharing these stories that we connect and grow. Congratulations on finishing the year strong.

  3. Love your capture of the culminating moments. What brave students to share their journeys with their classmates. My favorite sentence from your post: “All of these memories make up what mattered to our fifth graders.”

  4. I know you must be proud of their words, Julieanne. I just read a piece that challenged all Americans to fight for the good things in our country. It seems that your students have the heart to do this, too.

  5. These moments shared by students are brave ones. I am touched that your school celebrated their voices and that they were centerstage as spokespersons for others. It is difficult to open yourself out in front of peers. Thanks for sharing, Julieanne. Now sing for joy-vacation is here!

  6. I am glad that during your last week of school each day felt like Friday and your students reflected with honesty and courage.

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