Many wouldn't want to do middle school twice. It's a tough age. But this time around I realized the importance of helping these kids embrace their age, rather than loath the typical self-conscious drudgery of it all. After four years of trying to help kids Go Far here, I have learned that all middle-schoolers want or need is to feel accepted among his or her peers. Every kid has greatness within. Sometimes this greatness lay just beneath the surface until he or or she matures just enough to let it bubble up. It lives in each child, waiting for it to uniquely present itself. If you're lucky, you happen to be there to see it. A community magically appears when uniqueness is embraced and celebrated. I have witnessed it on many occasions at Memorial School.
Sometimes the magic happens watching one perform in a talent show or a school play. It can happen when one sticks up for another during recess time. It happens when an experienced athlete helps out the novice. It even happens when a child holds open a door, calls you by your name and ask how your day is going.
There were academic milestones achieved by both kids, thanks to Martha Swanson who taught them to work harder than they ever knew they could. There were defining moments. For Kate, it came as she got up on stage to perform at the talent show. She was terrified, but she did it and did it well. I'll never forget that day. Peter defined himself by forging ahead in his love of sport. He completed his first full triathlon after three years of training for it. He would be the kid that would run to school when no one else did because he believed in his goal. I believe his enthusiasm would carry the Go Far X program and many kids would benefit from it. It would be his legacy.
I know this community will thrive if we keep our eye on the ball. Now, more than ever, I am driven to continue to foster it. In my biased opinion, if these kids continue to embrace each others qualities and the adults continue to cherish them, their future is ensured.
Memorial School, thanks for letting me reach out in the best way I know how. I'm lucky to have connected. You'll always have a special place in my heart.