Eighth Grade Promotion
In just a few minutes you will have a certificate in your hand - a symbol of your accomplishment - one that starts you on a journey that will bring you back to this field (or one like it) four years from now for your graduation from high school.
One of the things that I have always cherished about Marston students is your acceptance of each other and the unique personality traits and characteristics that make you individuals. Middle school is a time to figure out who you are in the world and what you value. You are all making great strides in that understanding, but for the next few minutes I am going to take the liberty of telling you who I think you are.
You care about each other even though you are different from each other. You understand that it is not possible for all of us to think alike, act alike, look alike, or live our lives in the same way, but you don’t let that keep you from being friends and valuing each other.
You care about the world and want to be part of making it a better place - not just for yourself, but for your families, friends, and people across the world. You demonstrate this through coming to the rescue of friends who are being bullied, paying attention when someone is hurting inside, caring about people who are less fortunate, and paying attention to big world issues.
You have passion, creativity, and a drive to share what you know while learning from others - and I don’t mean just from teachers, and other important adults in your life, but also from your peers. You know, peer pressure is only a bad thing when someone is trying to get you to do or be something that is harmful. It is very important to surround yourself with people who believe in you and try to push you to do and be more than you think you can.
This day is about looking forward. What do you want to do? Where do you want to go? Who do you want to be? Imagine your destination. Define your next steps. Take charge of your learning - both in and outside of school. It’s not just important for your future. It is important for you NOW.
You have what it takes to be extraordinary, but it takes hard work and sacrifice to set goals and meet them. You should not shy away from hard work. Having competence and a sense of purpose will take you anywhere you wantto go. There is nothing worthy about being able to do something that is easy. Don’t go for perfection though, go for excellence. Perfection will make you crazy, take too long and cause much to go unfinished. Excellence is sufficient and will motivate you to continue to be your very best self.
The end of a school year brings an opportunity for a fresh start in the next. I remember very clearly my first few days at Marston Middle School -fourteen years ago. Standing on the lunch court I wondered if the kids would like me, if the teachers would be mean, and if I was smart enough to do the work that was set before me - and that wasn’t as a student, but as the principal! You are likely to have the same thoughts as you begin high school. Make your fellow students like you by liking them first. If you have mean teachers turn it around to challenge yourself to meet their expectations. And never worry if you are smart enough. You definitely have what it takes to succeed.
I wish you every success in your high school years, and look forward to hearing about the marvelous people you have become and the remarkable things you have accomplished.