Sunday, May 17, 2009

Graduation 2009

Well the end of the year is upon us. I can tell because there are puppies everywhere...

(and... this very that last one that is still looking for a good home...)

love, it seems, is in the air...
and once again, I had a graduation speech to deliver...

So here is this year's tribute...

I'm here to congratulate four very deserving students on their graduation from middle school and their ascent into high school.

I, personally, have been extremely pleased to observe their progress over the past two years. Their growth, in every way, has been remarkable. They have, in that time, become mature, well-spoken adults helping provide for their families and making responsible choices.

They have become taller, too.

Allow me introduce Anissum Henry, Nick Joekay, Lyle Meier, and Patrick Waska.

These four boys work together well as a team. Last year along with Issa and Nicole they performed remarkably well making it to the state level with both Battle of the Books and Robotics.

I’ll be honest. I thought it was a fluke. That group of six being one of those classes teachers dream of having.

I was wrong. These young men have been leaders in the Jr. High helping the four new students in our group also become great teammates. The Jr. High this year has surpassed my expectations again with their ability to work well through communicating safely with one another. They were award winners in the Science Fair and the Multimedia competition. Two contests they have never been a part of before this year.

In addition to all of the amazing work they have done together they have also, independently, produced high-quality school work, under some serious pressure.

Perhaps even more impressive, in this time of nation-wide recession, each of them has had at least one job within the past year.

Young men, today is a turning point in your life. As you make it through this celebration, take a small part of your brain and think about the direction your life is going to go. It's been said that a high school education is one of the greatest gifts that one can receive. And I guess… you’ll have to ask Andrew more about that.

Well, starting now, you have the opportunity to earn that gift. Are you going to take advantage of that opportunity?

You each have a unique set of strengths. Find out what they are, and build on them using this school as your toolbox. With a little self-analysis, planning and focus; and with a lot of work, there are no limits to what you can do with your lives.

At this time, I would like to acknowledge each of you separately. Please stand as I announce your name.


Remember all the magic acts you saw and you learned in Las Vegas? You love magic, and we love seeing you perform it. Well nothing can be more magical than the way you've matured over this last year. All of a sudden, you're a voracious reader. You're great working with kids, and you were a good help to me in the classroom this year. You haven't yet chosen your future career, but don't worry. There's plenty of time. You've gotten a good start, though. You've researched everything from firefighting to marine engineering. That covers a lot of ground. You're a hard worker. Whatever you do, it will probably involve outside work, working with your hands. Keep up the research. There are plenty of options for you.


Nick is punctual. He's never late for anything. Well... this week aside. This isn't just a good character trait. It reflects his energy level. Nick will never sit if he can stand. He'll never walk if he can run. If class starts in five minutes...and he's ten minutes away, don't worry. He can make it in three minutes. Of course, punctually is a good character trait too. So is his excellent record of always getting his homework done as assigned. Those aren't his only good traits. If you don't believe me, ask my niece, Marissa. She'll tell you that he's a good guy. You can get a good look at Nick's inner strength by watching him take on athletic challenges. He always pushes himself harder than anyone else I know. In Health and PE we have been doing an video called "Walk Away the Pounds." So a couple of times a week we have been walking two miles in 30 minutes. WE have been walking. Nick has been... running! This drive will help him accomplish goals for the rest of his life. Teamwork and a burning drive to succeed... Nick has considered a career in law enforcement or as a Navy Seal. Lofty goals... But get to know him and he'll convince you...He has what it takes.


Lyle always accomplishes more than he's asked to do. He's now entering high school, but he's been performing high school quality work for some time now. He's humorous, intelligent, witty, super friendly, popular, self aware, creative, etc. And frankly, at this age he shouldn't be. He should be... scared. But not Lyle. He's an independent thinker and… a… tinkerer. He has TINKERED with broken toys and made them into functional equipment. He has mastered skills typically demonstrated only by career electricians. He even taught himself to play the guitar recently...and he does it well. He hasn't yet decided what he wants to be; but given facts that he's super bright and mechanically inclined, once he decides on his path, the sky's the limit. Let's be nice to him. Someday, we all may be working for him.


Patrick is a good student and so much more. He has demonstrated his leadership skills and ability to take on responsibility both at school and at home. We should all feel grateful that he is a member of our community. He's a positive example for us all. No matter what's going on, he always flashes this HUGE smile. Come on, Patrick, show everyone what you've got! Patrick is charming, passionate about everything he does, loyal and empathetic. He sees what needs to be done, and he does it. Patrick already has his future picked out. In case you haven't heard, Patrick intends to live in Anchorage, working as a flight attendant for Alaska Airlines. He's sure of this. And it's that commitment that will make his dream come true. I have no doubt, he'll make us proud.

There you have it...four remarkable young men, ready to move on.

Anissum, Nick, Patrick, and Lyle… it is obvious to me that they didn't get here and do all this on their own. The success and quality of these gentlemen are a tribute to the love and support they've received from their families and from the Oscarville community. Let's not forget your contributions. For those of you who have been a part of their lives, and that means all of you, we applaud you. (through applause) Your help. Your support.

I've felt very close to the four of you. We've worked well together. But don't feel guilty about abandoning me as you move on with your lives. It's the nature of being a teacher. I help you grow up, and then you leave me. It's the circle of life, only without the killing and eating parts.

Besides, you won't get far. I'll still be keeping an eye on you.

Next year, with Erin leaving, you will be getting a new high school teacher. Don't think can get away with reporting to a "Newbie." I read your paper and one of you wrote with hopes of that already. No slacking though... like I just said, "I'll still be keeping an eye on you." After all... I will be in here with the Jr. High and you'll only be just right down the hall from me.
Good luck gentlemen. And... thank you.

In addition to the eighth grade promotion into High School there was a kindergarten graduate and a High School graduate.

Andrew, our High School graduate, seems very pleased with his graduation presents...
as were the kuspeq wearing ladies.

The purple kuspeq, I am wearing here, was a gift from Eliza, Andrew's mother. A quick look around and we found a vast majority of the kuspeqs in this picture were actually all made by Eliza's creative hands.

There are three days of school left. But frankly, I am DONE with academic work. It's been a productive year. My students really pushed right up to the end. A picture is said to paint a thousands words. Well... here's my visual representation of the end of the school year.

Early this week I posted my expectations for each of my students by the end of the school year. Purple is what needs to be done. Orange means it was completed. A blue circle means that the student finished EVERYTHING. A pink square is the work incomplete.

1 comment:

Ay'atang'aq said...

You rock Christina. Your students rock. I always love your speeches, I just wish I had been there to hear it. Congrats.