What happens when 100 adults and 500 teenagers “lower the waterline” and let others really know them? What is the affect of bullies telling their victims they are sorry in front of a large crowd of their peers? How do students react when they find out that many of their school peers have experienced some horrible emotional situations? What is it like for students when their teachers, school administrators, school board members, and other community members share true stories about their lives and shed a tear or two? What is the affect of six hours of laughing, dancing, listening, crying, hugging, and caring for people in ways you have never done before? CULTURE CHANGE! The building of empathy and understanding. The realization that we are all so much more alike than different. The awareness of what we say, do with and to others has a major effect that can be both life affirming or devastating. BUT, it will only happen if we care enough to carry through with it….and it all begins with YOU!
I have said before, many times, that our students don’t care what we know until they know we care. We have tried very hard to build school community and trust here the past several years in an effort to improve school performance. I think we may have really turned a corner this past week. We shut down the bell system, slowed down the prescribed learning and perhaps learned the most important lesson of all; We all matter! I hope what we have seen the past several days is a new normal. That we can all continue to have each others’ back and be real with one another. I know that initially this past week’s activities have made an impact. You can see it and feel it in the hallways and classrooms. Our new challenge is to keep this new “attitude” alive! I know it is up to me and I am the change! I hope you will join me and commit the same pledge.