Tonight as the 190-member strong class of 2017 walks across the stage to receive their diplomas, I will get a chance to reflect on those I’ve taught, and I will be able to think about the places they’ll go. Some will go straight to work, some will enlist, some will attend community college, and some will matriculate at a university. Many of them have clear visions of what lies ahead of them, but the truth is, few of us really know what the future holds for tomorrow, let alone five years from now. If I think back to my own high school graduation ceremony, there is no way that in my wildest dreams I could have imagined this NYC girl would end up teaching math in Mississippi.
As the students journey across that stage, I like to sit in the faculty section of the audience and “friend” or “follow” the seniors I’ve taught. To me, one of the greatest benefits of social media is that I get to keep up with former students who are stationed overseas or off at medical school or right here at home raising kids of their own. As someone who loves to travel and doesn’t get to do much of it anymore, I feel as if I am a stow away on their life journey.
Oh, the Places You’ll Go! is a popular graduation gift. Occasionally, a parent will ask me to write a note in the book for their child, and I am happy to do it. Like writing college letters of recommendation, it gives me a chance to think back to the first time I met the child and marvel at the growth of said child. This year, I wrote not just a note but a Seussian poem… I don’t know, it just kind of poured out of me. I have deleted the student’s name so you can substitute another name, should you wish to use the poem. We all know this kid… the one with all of the bags…
The bags, the bags, the big and the small,
How on Earth did she carry them all?
One for books, one for band, on for sports, one for lunch,
She did everything, even pageants and sunch.
Eventually she had to quit certain activities
But that meant she could focus on her proclivities
She has made her family and teachers so proud
We just want to shout from the rooftops so loud,
“We knew this kid once, she passed through our halls,
And look at her now, she’s tearing down walls!
Oh the places you’ll go, ________, and we’ll go too
Because we’ll be in that virtual bag on your journey with you!”
Congratulations to the class of 2017 — keep in touch with us!