the littlest aloha

Today was my babies’ moving up ceremony to middle school. It is aptly called “Aloha” as it means both hello and goodbye. I had such a hard time keeping myself from crying during the event. I have grown to love and care for my 15 nuggets so much this year, and I know there will never be a class quite like your first class. 

Here is the majority of the speech I gave to them and their parents this afternoon:

I want thank everyone who planned, brought food, helped decorate, and purchased items for today’s Aloha. The pavilion looks beautiful, lunch was delicious, and we have the most amazing weather of any Booth Free School celebration I can remember.

I want to thank all parents and guardians for their support from home and in school throughout the year. You helped your children balance homework and after school activities, chaperoned play rehearsals and field trips, organized classroom activities, navigated websites, and offered assistance with classroom activities all year. There is not enough time to list the individual ways you have helped but please know that they are very much appreciated.

Now for the students… we’ve had a great year full of new. New responsibilities, new curriculum, new technology, and a new teacher. I know that throughout your entire Booth Free School career you had anticipated having Mrs. Snowden for your fifth grade teacher. You began the year with her and you were all very excited for the long list of special 5th grade activities ahead! I know how upsetting it was for you to find out less than a month into the school year that Mrs. Snowden was leaving for a lead teacher position in Newtown. You had many questions of who your new teacher would be, when would they start, and how this would affect your final year at Booth Free School. I know that some of you were excited to find out that I would become your teacher and others of you were less than thrilled. You knew me as an intern who would occasionally substitute for Mrs. Lucchesi and made sure you got all of your work done so she wasn’t disappointed when she returned. 

The first few weeks were touch and go as we got used to each other. We had walk to school day, Halloween, and the Spelling Bee & Pie Feast. You met countless other teachers, professors, and professionals who came to observe me as a first-year teacher and you were on your best behavior every time. 

Through the goofy nicknames and classroom inside jokes, the 17 of us (yes, Mrs. Prybylski is included) reached a point in which we learned to accept each other’s flaws and quirks; to embrace the good and let go of the bad. We’ve had a strong, exciting, end to our school year. We saw Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief: the musical, ventured to the New Britain Museum of Art, experienced field day as a 5th grader, had the incredible experience of visiting Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, FINALLY making it to your long-awaited Aloha today, and you still have the Track Meet to look forward to on Monday. You’re almost at the very end of your long elementary school road.

As you leave Booth on your way to middle school, I have a little advice to offer: Decide now how middle school is going to end for you. This summer, think less about the first day of sixth grade and more about the last day of eighth grade. What kind of person do you want to be when your three years of middle school are over? What kind of experiences do you want to have had? What kind of class award do you want to receive at your eighth grade graduation? Super Successful? Totally Creative? Kindest Kid? Thoughtful Friend? Hardest Working? Do you want to have been on a team, in a club, on the honor roll? Once you know where you want to end up, you need to think about how to get there. Write down your goals for middle school, then persevere in reaching them!

 I am so proud of each and every one of you. Thank you all for giving me the privilege of being your teacher and watching you grow into responsible young adults. You guys, my fifteen nuggets, will always hold the title of being my first class. You endured my first true flop of a lesson, yet my first extremely successful lesson. Yet, as much instruction as I gave you, you taught me as well. I learned that the most important part of teaching isn’t what you learn from graduate level classes about the common core and rigor: it’s that you need to have fun in the classroom and teach from your heart. Thank you for the most fun-filled, crazy, hectic, wonderful year I could have asked for. I can’t wait to hear about all of the wonderful things you accomplish in the future.

I loved my class and the insanity that this year brought with it. I can’t wait for next year!


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