I tried to count how many staff members we each interacted with over our 13 years, but that was challenging. From principals, custodians, classroom teachers, support teachers, office managers, EAs and so many more, the number just kept growing.
So how do we say thank you to all those people for being there for us and teaching us about the world? From teaching us to read to convincing us that we really could do Math 12. In the end, I found myself taking inspiration from those adults once again and settled on this:
So dearest staff, these are 13 lessons the class of 2020 learned from you throughout our 13 years together, summarized by Dr. Seuss.
1. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And you are the one who’ll decide where to go.
Back in elementary school the age-old question of “what are your future plans” seemed a lot more carefree. As we grew older and it became more and more daunting, you constantly reminded us that the final decision was ours. Only we could decide where we wanted to go.
Sometimes you may have stepped in to snap us back to reality, but in the end, you helped us aim for our own aspirations. You also taught us independence.
Goodness only knows how many desk cleanups we went through in elementary school or how many different study tips we had to learn for high school, but you helped us throughout the years to figure out our learning style and many others important things, and for many of us our future plans.
2. Whether you colour the world or light it up blue, you are making a difference. So, keep being you.
Ever since we opened that first box of crayons in kindergarten, you were there supporting us. So maybe we have a tendency to colour outside the lines now and then. The point is you nurtured our creativity for 13 years. Now we can take that skill, and the little crayon box, to create our own unique path in life.
3. There’s no limit to how much you’ll know, depending how far beyond zebra you go.
Based on some of our spelling marks, it’s quite possible we went far beyond zebra, however, you were always ready with your red pens and feedback to help prepare us for our future and improve our essays, math problems and science labs. Even if it came down to seeing how much we could round up our mark, you always strove to help us put in our best effort.
4. Why fit in when you were born to stand out?
Being normal can get a bit boring. You showed us that it’s okay to sing your heart out for karaoke in the cafeteria or wear the silliest hats we own on crazy hat days.
Even if it seemed odd to many of us when we saw teachers leading an entourage of blaring trombones down the hallways or pretending to be a partridge, you taught us to embrace who we are, and to have a bit of fun while doing it.
5. Sometimes the questions are complicated, and the answers are simple.
We aren’t perfect. Whether it`s math, English, or another subject altogether, you showed us the strength in asking for help. Sometimes we need to take a step back and simply breathe in order to see the simple answers. Sometimes we needed to look at questions from a whole new angle.
No matter what you always had our backs and the time to help us through our most challenging subjects.
6. Step with care and great tact, and remember that life’s a great balancing act
Being organized is one of the most essential skills we needed, and still need. Even if we end up multitasking, oftentimes you were there to share our load. Many of us sat in your open centres repeatedly raising our hand, sometimes multitasking.
You always helped us to stay on our feet and keep the end goal in sight. You helped us learn to plan out our next move carefully and proceed with confidence.
7. I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope.
You taught us that if plan A doesn’t work, it’s not the end of the world. No matter how many tech issues you faced or how many videos played without sound, you still persevered with your lessons.
This year feels like we`re looking in the wrong end of the telescope, but you’ve taught us how to keep our heads up and rethink the plan.
8. I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I’ve bought a big bat. I’m all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have trouble with me!
Even if the only time you let us swing a bat at things was in P.E., you taught us not to run and hide from our problems. We learned how to face them head on. Now we are standing up, ready to apply this skill to problems locally, nationally and internationally.
No matter how many times we were knocked down, what mattered was your encouragement to stand back up again. We learned to give it our all because the only person who was ever really holding us back was ourselves.
9. If things start happening, don’t worry, don’t stew, just go right along and you’ll start happening too.
You taught us that our mental health matters. You consistently checked in with us whether it was standing outside your door between bell changes or pulling us aside if we seemed off.
Many of you were safe people for us to talk to and showed us how to go with the flow, even when we didn’t know what the flow was!
10. Don`t give up! I believe in you all, a person’s a person no matter how small.
No matter who walked through your doors you always treated us equally. You set a high bar that we always aimed for. Thanks to you we understand as a grad class that things like gender, race, religion or orientation don’t define us. We are all human.
11. Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.
Staff, you have inspired a class of activists and problem solvers, a group of kids who frankly always spoke their minds and never knew how to stop. Thanks to you we are prepared to tackle issues that come our way and change the world.
We know to speak up when it feels like we’re drowning in a sea of people and how to think outside the box.
12. Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.
We are the class of 2020! We all know there’s no time to have our vision blurred by tears! You all taught us to keep our “2020 vision” on the stars and thanks to you we set that vision on the future.
Our adventure has been a roller coaster to say the least, but no matter how wild the ride, we all had fun. So today we can smile, because it’s a new beginning.
13. I’m glad we had the times together just to laugh and sing a song, seems like we just got started and then before you know it, the times we had together were gone.
So even if we never truly read the book you assigned for that novel study, or our science labs didn’t quite go as planned, we made it here to this stage together.
It seems like yesterday that we started this journey, and we know it has been a long road, but we have learned so much from you at every twist and turn. So above all, we have learned to enjoy the journey, not just the destination.
Staff of the Class of 2020, this has been an unimaginable year for all of us, but together we made it. Thank you for the past 13 years of time, support and challenges.
Thanks to you we have brains in our heads and feet in our shoes, and we can steer ourselves any direction we choose.
Ally Boyd, on behalf of the Brooks Secondary School Class of 2020.