Tuesday, June 12, 2007

funny thing happened on the way to school...

Thanks so much, loyal friends, neighbors, countrymen & women for your input on my mania over the senior banquet speech. To satisfy everyone, I actually created an entirely new one this morning. That is just how crazy I am. I appreciate you all playing along. If you still care (how could you possibly??), here is basically what I said (I knew it was the best because I didn't have to write it word for word - it came to me in bullet points that fit perfectly on note cards).

Carpe Diem - I decided in 6th grade that I really liked this phrase. It sounded cool, and I was learning LATIN! It sounded adventurous, and I wasn't an adventurous kid, so I chose it to get myself going. In case you aren't sure, it doesn't mean "Seize the Fish" (that would be "Carpe Carp," I'm pretty sure) but actually "Seize the Day." And I adopted it as my personal motto.

My motto & I got off to a rocky start in junior high. I met the first love of my life in 7th grade and during the next three years, we talked about 5 minutes. Total. Then he moved in 9th grade and I haven't spoken to him since. So much for seizing those days.

But 8th grade was better - the rival junior high schools in my town were combining and I joined the steering committee to bring them together. I made a bunch of new friends - who I do still keep in touch with - and it was a great, adventurous experience for me.

By high school I'd gotten pretty good at seizing the day - I took challenging college prep classes, joined clubs, made friends with punk rockers, and even wore leg warmers a couple of times. Carpe diem.

In college, I thought I was getting the hang of the carpe diem thing. But really I was seizing too many parties and not enough classes. That led to a year in exile. I moved back with my parents, got a job in fast food, and starting taking courses at community college to make up for all the credits I blew my freshman year. When I say 'exile,' though, I don't mean to imply any of those things were bad - in fact, they were probably the best things that could have happened to me. I had no friends left in town, so I made new ones. And I got to know myself and really figure out what my passions were. I finally realized I needed to be a teacher.

When I returned to WSU, I was ready to get going - carpe diem. But when I went to the education department, the advisor there looked at my transcripts and said no. She told me if she were a parent, she wouldn't want me teaching her kids. I did some serious seizing of the day then - I wouldn't leave her office until she let me enroll in a couple of education classes. From then on, I have been all about seizing my days.

I chose to student teach in a so-called rough neighborhood, and even got an apartment there among my students. I took a middle school position as my first teaching job, even though that age kind of freaked me out and there weren't any plans for the classes I was supposed to teach in three days. I seized those days and made up some great classes, and we had good years. I taught at a group home for adjudicated youth; I had my own children; I became a substitute teacher - I have to seize everyday with this job. And giving this speech today was about carpe diem. I was hanging around the Leadership kids who were planning the banquet and they asked if I wanted to say something. "Yes! Please! Are you sure??" I took it. Let that be a lesson in not asking someone to do something unless you realllly want them to...

So if you only take one thing away from here...That's crazy. You should take everything from here - you've had amazing teachers (I know, I've subbed for all of them) and one incredible principal. There is so much to take from here. And so much more to learn. Carpe diem - seize the day. Not the fish, unless you're really into fish, but most importantly - the day.