This speech was presented to the graduating fifth-grade class at Richardson Park Elementary on Friday, June 10.
Achievement and attitude. In my classroom, we’ve discussed at length these two very critical topics that are key to any student’s success.
Achievement we can measure in many different ways. Scores on a test. Grades on a report card. A feeling of accomplishment when a student finally gets something like adding and subtracting fractions or differentiating between valid and faulty generalizations. Perhaps achievement is a struggling student who creates a new procedure to make sure his or her homework is completed every night. Or maybe achievement is an advanced student who feels a sense of pride when he or she is able to help that struggling student grasp difficult and new concepts.
Achievement can be both internal and external. The joy we feel on the inside when we know we’re doing good things, but don’t always feel it’s necessary to share with someone. Achievement on the outside because you want to give someone else the confidence he or she requires to bring about his or her own sense of accomplishment.
Achievement. It’s not just success. It’s failing, but realizing that if you don’t give up, you will succeed at some point. That’s achievement. It’s saying to yourself “I can do this. I must do this. I will do this.” Because once you’ve said those words, you’ve committed yourself to the task and it’s almost guaranteed you will achieve.
Working hand-in-hand with achievement is attitude. This one, perhaps, may be an even bigger predictor of one’s success than achievement. I want you students to ask yourselves every day: “Am I going to have a positive day today or a negative day today?” How you chart your day’s course at the beginning is very likely how your day will play out. If you start in a good mood, then chances are you’ll arrive at your destination smiling and with an amazingly positive attitude. If you start the day wanting to make everyone your enemy and you feel it’s acceptable to get through the day whining, complaining, being disrespectful, and thinking everyone’s out to get you, then your attitude is set and it will likely be very difficult to change.
But change is what we humans do. We evolve. Evolution is a process that takes place over millions of years, but we have the power within us to evolve into kinder and more respectful human beings with every passing day. Have a bad attitude today? Fine, but in my class, you come in with a clean slate every day. As I’ve said dozens of times this year, it’s not so much the ACTION, but the REACTION. Something happens to you that you don’t like. How do you react? How is your ATTITUDE? People won’t remember what you know or how much money you have. They will remember how you treated them. They will remember your attitude.
Attitude and achievement. They work hand in hand. I am proud to be giving the award to the Richardson Park Female Student of the Year. This young lady is a perfect illustration of one who possesses both a positive attitude and a stunning record of achievement. She consistently scored at the top of nearly every subject and the quality of her work remained stellar throughout the year. While some in fifth grade decided to take the final marking period and fool around a little – you know who you are!! – this young lady continued to produce work that was befitting of an individual receiving this award. Her achievement is unquestionable.
Her attitude is undeniable. I have only taught for two years, but I don’t know if I will ever meet an individual who so perfectly captures such an awesome sense of humanity, compassion, and wit. Her kindness, sensitivity, and sense of humor got me through some hard times this year. I imagine those same qualities displayed by her helped many of my other students this year.
Most fifth graders find themselves going through an emotional whirlwind at some point during the school year. However, this young lady stayed free from the drama and kept her eye on the ball. Her positivity is infectious and her attitude should serve as an example to every student AND adult in this room. Yes, every adult in this auditorium – myself included — could learn something by spending just five minutes with this amazing young lady. And to think, I was spoiled having her in my classroom for six hours per day.
Superb achievement and a positive attitude. Two very important qualities for anyone receiving this Richardson Park Student of the Year Award. Achievement and a positive attitude. Two qualities that my student, Emely Reynoso, has demonstrated over and over again. I’d like to ask that Emely please come to the stage and say a few words.