Sunday, June 24, 2012


The end of the 2011-2012 school year is in sight.  Only three days left until summer vacation and a much needed (deserved) rest.  It has been a fun, yet hectic, year full of change.

The past few days have been no exception.  Report cards, end-of-the-year assessments, portfolios, celebrations, moving up ceremonies and graduations have occupied much of our time.

Our fifth graders had their graduation ceremony on Friday and this Tuesday the eighth grade students will don cap and gown to collect their diplomas.

Many of them were once my Pre-K, kindergarten and/or first grade students. So, when they were asked who they would like to have speak at their graduation they voted for me.  It feels as though we have come full circle. I once welcomed them to school and now they are welcoming me as they embark on a new chapter in their lives.  It's an honor.

They keep asking me if I have written my speech yet and I continue to say, "not yet".  I'm generally better unscripted but I do have an outline. Since I am closely associated with a particular little monkey I plan to construct my talk around life lessons learned from Curious George (kinda, sorta like those found here and here).

I also plan to bring along some small stuffed Georges to throw out at the graduates every so often.

Just to make sure they are paying attention.

*A bit of a follow-up

I am told the speech was a grand success.

The five life lessons I chose to impart to the young graduates as they set out on their adventures were...
  1. Enjoy life!
  2. Help Others
  3. Be Curious and Creative
  4. Love What You Do
  5. Surround Yourself with People who are in your Corner (like The Man in the Yellow Hat)


Steve Reed said...

Sounds like a surefire crowd pleaser -- being pelted by Georges! :)

I'm sure you'll be a great speaker!

Barbara said...

Hey it's been a long time without a word...sorry. I am caught up in the everyday!!
BUT saw this today and couldn't help but think of you and your great work...
Go to the sight and let me know what you think.

booksRule said...

Amazingly fun speech, Gary! You made it fun, succinct, and memorable!

Gary said...

Steve - The George throwing went over very well. There was some disappointment when I exhausted my supply of little monkeys so I told the kids to stop by my room if they wanted one. It was adorable when the big, cool boys and above-it-all girls stopped by and asked for a George. I will see them as kids forever and I think they appreciate that. Too cute!

Barbara - Great to see you after so long. I've been wondering things are going with you. Thanks for the link. It is so difficult to put American Sign Language into a picture book because facial expressions and movement are part of the grammar. Unless you already know what direction the hands move when making a sign it is hard to figure it out with just a book for reference. But kudos for this author for taking on the challenge. The more support for ASL the better (although the books seem way too expensive).

I hope you have a fantastic summer!!

Sara - Thanks! I think short and to the point with lots of energy and fun was a good way to go. I loved watching the graduates laugh and cheer as I reminisced with them. A great bunch of kids.

Ms.M said...

Oh how wonderful. It is a huge honor. When I did my student teaching it was in a 5th grade class and I was asked to come back and speak at their promotion. They felt it was appropriate because not only were they moving on I was graduating too! I can't remember what I said, it was really all a blur, I think it is better that way but I do remember being really honored.

I'm sure it was a great speech.



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