Our end of year assemblies are a time when I have a captive audience as I share words of advice to our students as they head off to summer break. In years past I’ve kept my comments short and to the point and ho-hum we go about our business.
However, this year as I was reflecting on our year and brainstorming my thoughts in the days prior to the assemblies the same message kept coming back around as I wrote down these words – Just Be Nice.
Where I started was acknowledging the fact we were recognizing our students for a successful year. We have much to be thankful for and celebrate athletically and academically @CherokeeSPS as it was an amazing 16 – 17 school year. However, I knew and realized not every student was going to be highlighted during our three assemblies. For this I was sad as I know how disengaged and disinterested the majority of our students would be as they sat through the hour-long assembly watching a few of their friends and classmates be recognized.
So, I reminded the students they all had been successful this year. Just because they were not receiving an award it did not matter. Ten, 15, 25 or more years from now no one is going to remember who received what awards and who was recognized during our assembly.
I told them I was proud of the growth and accomplishments each of them had achieved this year and they should be proud. I also reminded them every day is a gift and an opportunity for a fresh start. With this I emphasized it was on them to make the decision to change and be better tomorrow than they were today. No one else could do that for them. Just them.
However, what I really wanted to drive home to our students on our final day together was this:
- What your classmates will remember about you is this – How you treated them and how you made them feel. I reminded them to Just Be Nice to one another. This is what will have the biggest impact on each of them as they move on in life. Being nice doesn’t cost a penny, but the return investment can last a lifetime and in many cases you may never know the impact it had on someone. Smile, say hello, include someone, but most of all Just Be Nice to those you come in contact with on a daily basis.
- My final point was to let each of them know they are loved! The end of April was a tough one for our community as we lost two young men to suicide. One student had attended our school a few years prior and the other was a former classmate & friend of several current students. Both of these young men had bright futures ahead of them, but for some unknown reason didn’t believe in themselves or believe their future was worth living. No one will ever know, but I assured our students that their families loved them, our staff loves them, and I loved them and we would always be here for them no matter how bad their life situation may seem.
My heart hurts as I see how some in our country believe it is ok to be hurtful, mean, and downright ugly to others. You see it on social media and in the mainstream. You see it on the local and national news. I don’t understand why people feel they must behave this way. . . .
As educators we make a difference and we must continue to do our best to be the light and live as positively as we can and work to Just Be Nice to those around us. Our students are watching and they need us more than ever.