Transcription of Speech at Awards Recognition Breakfast for Families and Students Demonstrating Respect, Responsibility, and Resourcefulness
“(Why are you here today?) It has nothing to do with grades. It has nothing to do with a test score. It has nothing to do with a rank or maybe the fact that you turned in all your homework (even though that is responsible).
For the past twenty years, I have been proud to be an educator. However, I have to admit that I have been a hypocrite. I have bowed at the altar of standardized testing. I have allowed PSSAs to become an anxiety inducing problem for our students to the point where 30 or more families each year opt their students out of the entire test.
The truth of the matter is that I don’t care about that testing. All that shows is one tiny snapshot of your time here at Downingtown Middle School. That’s not something any of you are going to remember years from now. What you will remember are the experiences that shape your character and help you become even more special than you already are. Your parents already know how special you are. They are already enjoying watching the people you are becoming. Our job as educators is to provide you with those experiences.
Over the past twenty years I am willing to admit I have failed to a large degree because I haven’t practiced what I’ve preached. Today is our way as a school of saying “No more.” We are going to be recognizing and rewarding the things that matter moving forward. We want you to leave here not with a resume or having classes under your belt. We want you to leave with the skills to be critical thinkers, communicators, to be able to collaborate with one another, and in turn be able to create. We want you to go on to high school and beyond being able to have empathy for others and being always willing to own your actions, taking personal responsibility for what you do and who you are.
We are so proud of all you today which is why we are here celebrating you and why we invited your families here to celebrate as well. Congratulations.”