Another year has come and gone. I think we can all agree this was one for the books. As I sit in my new hammock (thanks, Mom), reminiscing over the events of the last 9 months, I find it difficult to believe so much can happen in such a short amount of time. So many moments. So much laughter. So many life lessons. So much for which to be grateful.
I was able to find comfort in my own rhythm this year, as it was our first year in the ARCTIC Zone where we didn’t undergo many drastic changes. I feel like I am finding my place and purpose better and better each year.
On a personal level, this year will remain close to my heart as the year I watched my dad close his eyes for the final time. The compassion and support received from my students, families, and colleagues was astonishing. Though broken, my heart remains so grateful.
This year provided many opportunities for creativity and growth, especially in its final weeks. Though challenging for all of us to varying degrees, I always try to be grateful for the chance to stretch myself.
Speaking of stretching, the pride I feel in my students’ accomplishments this final quarter is indescribable. The challenges presented were the first of its kind. The grit and discipline displayed by our youth and their families are nothing shy of impressive.
For example, our 8th graders are tasked with a culminating final project of writing and presenting their very own TED Talks. Typically, a live, formal presentation would be made and recorded at the downtown Grand Theater in the final weeks of school, but we all know how that went this year. Rather than ditch the project, we pivoted. Students brainstormed ideas, drafted and drafted, participated in feedback discussions with each other, revised and revised, and finally recorded their personal talks. I can’t lie – many students did not finish. The obstacles presented were too great… this time. But, for those who did make it to the final submit button, the world deserves to hear their voices.
Please take a few minutes to listen to the words of Jack, one of my 8th grade students, in his final ARCTIC Zone project. And then, take a few more minutes to practice your own gratitude.