The Principal's Principles

A Middle School Principal, striving to make the world a better place, one day at a time.

The 6th and 7th grade Honors Assembly, my speech(es)

Opening Remarks and Welcome

Good Evening

Welcome to the 2014 Sixth and Seventh Grade Honors Assembly.

To the parents, grandparents, family members and friends that are gathered here this evening, I thank you for coming and commend you on your commitment to not only your child’s schooling, but their overall education.

If you were with us last week for our NJHS induction, you know that one of my favorite things to do while I am not at work is to read to my daughter Averie. A book that we frequently spend time reading is “Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?” You might be more familiar with another title from the series “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” This one is just as exciting, it features an elephant, a walrus, and Averie’s favorite, a lion.

The reason this book is so important for my child (and really for everyone) is that it highlights what I believe to be one of the most key components of success.

Early in your education, your teachers taught you about your 5 senses. While each is important, I believe there is one that is most critical to success. Commonly called “hearing,” I prefer the term “listening.” “Hearing” identifies a sound. “Listening” is what we do when we actually take a sound or what someone says and process it.

If you want to learn, if you want to build friendships that last for a lifetime, if you want to avoid common mistakes, or, if it is important to you that people feel valued whenever they are with you, listen. Ask yourself “what did I hear?” This skill will take you far.

I congratulate you on a strong academic year, and I look forward to seeing you build upon your success next year.

Closing Remarks

If you knew your Assistant Principal was going to be missing and, at the last minute, you’d need to make two speeches, would use the prepared “good one” first or second? In a few minutes, you’ll know my answer.

4.1 miles. That’s the exact distance from the front doors at Oakview to 409 Miller Cove in the Hidden Lakes Estates mobile home community near here. That is the exact distance you would travel to get to 409 Miller Cove, which was my address for the first ten years of my life. I’m here this evening as your principal because in the country we live in, education can be transformational.

I wasn’t a perfect student, but more often than not, I came to school every day and did every assignment to the best of my abilities. I focused on being able to read, write good sentences, and to participate in all of my classes, even the ones I struggled through.

I had parents that were invested in my education, you have that.

I had teachers that gave me opportunities, you have that.

When you start to wonder “is the work I am doing going to matter,” consider for a moment that we live in a country where you can travel 4.1 miles from Hidden Lakes to be the principal of Oakview.

Take ownership of your education, show up every day, and work as hard as you can. You’ve done that successfully this year, don’t stop now.

Thank you for coming.

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