Class of 2011, members of the board of education, staff, students, alumni, and guests: I am honored to be here today and to be a part of a celebration of your success. Today is your day. Today is about you.
While today is the end of an influential period in your life, it is also merely a beginning. A new start—and it can be whatever you want it to be.
“There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.” ~ Louis L’Amour
Every end has a beginning. We will graduate the Class of 2011 on Sunday, June 5. The graduating class of 2011 began school as five-yea- olds in 1999. It was the year the Euro was first introduced as currency, Jesse Ventura was elected as governor of Minnesota, and President Clinton was in the middle of his impeachment trial. For many of us it seems like only yesterday.
My grandmother taught me how to play cards. We would sit at her big metal kitchen table for hours and play all kinds of card games—one player, two players, and a four-sided solitaire game I no longer remember, but wish I could. She also taught me the game of five hundred.
This time of year you will hear a lot of discussion about grades. Educators at all levels are working on final grades. Parents and students are anxiously awaiting the final verdict. In my early days, grades came inside a manila-colored pocket which had my full name beautifully scribed across the front. It is no secret that elementary teachers have the very best penmanship!
“Never has public education been more important, and never has it been under such scrutiny. The challenges come at us from all side: politicians, the media, and the public. And that is why school board members on the front lines of public education need to be deeply engaged in the work being done. The primary agenda of board members is raising student achievement and engaging the community to attain that goal.” --Anne Bryant, "The Key Work of School Boards"
Our forefathers, in the writing of the Declaration of Independence, acknowledged that change can’t be taken lightly and noted that people will tolerate a great deal before they will give up what they know. People are more open to changing how something is done, or what tools they will use, than changing the nature of the work itself.