Friday, June 21, 2002
Reflections from eighth-grade class speakers
Don't sweat the small stuff
Can you believe that we made it? We, the class of 2002, have made it out of middle school in one piece! Some of us have been here for nine whole years. Others moved here some time between kindergarten and eighth grade. But in the last couple of years we have grown up and matured in our own ways. We are on our way to high school. But we have to admit, we are going to miss it here. A lot of things are going to change as we enter high school. There will be a lot of new kids to meet, new hallways to get terribly lost in, and new cafeteria food. Looking back, there have been a lot of precious memories, a lot of mistakes made and yes, a lot of lessons learned.
One thing I have learned here is not to sweat the small stuff. I've learned that we've got to put our problems in perspective. We have to ask ourselves "Will this really matter ten years from now?" Will it really matter in ten years that your friend is wearing the exact same dress as you are to graduation? Do you think that if someone looks at you the wrong way that it will affect you in the future? We're almost in high school. Isn't it time to do things that will matter in the future? For instance, think about all the knowledge and skills we have developed in the past nine years taking part in music, sports, and studying. Those who did the yearbook, student council, math league or newspaper made a difference in people's lives as well. It's time to focus all our energy on those. They will matter in our future, not whether our friend waited for us to go to gym class.
While these past nine years have been full of lessons, they have also been full of terrific memories. The experiences we've been through are endless. If we participated in sports it was filled with great times and a lot of laughs. In sixth grade, we were lucky to go to an Outdoor Education program for a couple of days. And who can forget the seventh-grade play? In The Wizard of Oz, we learned to master different characters ranging from potbellied munchkins to mischievous monkeys. It was amazing once we pulled the whole play together and it was a huge success! Every year we have field day, and every single year it is scorching hot outside. But in spite of the weather, we have always had a stupendous time! We have had the privilege to go to many places. Some of us were lucky enough to go to Washington, D.C. last year with the senior band. That was one of the greatest times of my life. Just last week, we traveled to Maine for our eighth grade trip and it was a wonderful way to end the year. Think back to all those memories. Just be sure that you never forget them!
We wouldn't have those fantastic memories without the help and support of our teachers and our parents. Our teachers ... how can we thank them enough? They have consistently gone out of their way to carefully guide and tutor us. Our parents have constantly helped us out whether it be an academic or a personal problem. Earlier I said how can we thank them enough. We may never be able to thank them enough. We should, however, make a difference in someone else's life, as our parents and teachers did for us.
The past three years have certainly been extraordinary. Sixth grade was crazy! Backpacks on all the time, lockers, multiple classes, it was hectic. Seventh grade was the year that we finally knew the swing of things. As eighth graders, we were the oldest kids in the school, and the rulers of the hallway. It seems like yesterday that I was desperately trying to squeeze past the gigantic eighth graders in the hall. Then suddenly I was one of those gigantic eighth graders blocking everyone's way. Middle school has flown by!
Our lives have been somewhat like a giant maze. Every fork in the maze resembles a decision we had to make. There were also dead ends, those best resemble our mistakes. We learned from those mistakes. Now we are going to enter a bigger maze, filled with more dead ends and more forks. But we've got to take our time in the maze. We will always have a failure now and then, but that doesn't mean that we will not complete the maze. I know that all of us will make it through the maze.
When we enter high school, we will be going on to new and more challenging experiences. But we are still kids. Don't forget. Enjoy being a kid while you still can. In high school, just about everything is competitive; band, sports, grades etc. Even through all of this competition, have fun. Don't be afraid to be busy; we'll be happier if we are. And remember that we are still kids. We will only be 14 once in our lives. Don't waste it.
In about two months, we will be entering a completely new world. Our high school years will be a special time to remember, full of laughter, learning and great friends. I am leaving with this advice; don't sweat the small stuff! It will make us a lot happier and our time in high school incredible. The next four years are the last four years of being kids for us. Enjoy!
We are leaving soon. Our faces will linger here, in the empty hallways, the silent classrooms, bittersweet impressions of what we were. Through the endless summer months we will be ghosts, until September when we will exist here only in a few project examples and in the memories of the students who step up to take a new place in our absence. Did we leave a mark? Did we really change anything? We would like to think so, and we probably did. We have made the teachers laugh, sometimes cry, and even confused them from time to time. Some of us like to stand out, and others are content to be one of many, but we will all be remembered for the little things that make us different.
So if this is what school got from us, the question remains. What did we get from school?
Memories. I could go on for hours telling stories about the events I remember since kindergarten. They are good ones mostly, (I think I have repressed the bad) but each is personal and different for every one of us.
Knowledge. Our heads are full of facts and formulas, methods and just a pinch of madness. And it is not over yet. Next comes high school, then college, then life on our own! We never stop learning new things.
Wisdom. The best summary I can give was spoken by our language arts teacher, Ms. Ewers, on the first day of eighth grade. There we were, unsure as to what the year would be about, and we thought she was giving us a grammar lesson. "Which is correct," she asked, "to say you do well or do good?" Voices sang out, "Do well." She called for a vote. Nineteen confident hands shot up for "well," mine included. Our L.A. teacher turned to the student who had voted for "good." "Why?" she asked. "I don't know," he said. "Just because." While we were quietly laughing, she surprised us by telling us that both were right. To do well meant to succeed; to do good meant to spread acts of kindness and consideration for others. "I want you to do well," she said, "But what I really hope is that you will do good." That was a piece of wisdom, spoken on the first day of eighth grade but I believe it had been building up to this since the first day of kindergarten when we were told to share our crayons.
From this school we have a future. The memories and knowledge we will carry with us forever, but wisdom...that has settled in our blood and intermingled with what makes us who we are, inseparable for the rest of our lives.
We'll do good, I think we'll do good.
© 2002 The Carlisle Mosquito