Sending Forward The Future
It is that time of year again when we launch our young people into new dimensions — the 8th grade students toward high school days and the seniors into the world of higher education and/or the workaday world.
Have we prepared them adequately? That is always the concern of educators and families as they watch mortar boards soar upward at the high school graduation, this year scheduled for June 11 at the O’Neill Center of Western Connecticut State University. Is the incoming freshman class, moving up on June 12 in a celebration at Newtown High School, ready to navigate the less structured world of high school?
The students themselves may harbor anxieties as they move forward into new experiences, and it falls to the older mentors in their lives to assure them that jitters are normal as they add to their learning experiences, be they in hallowed halls or hollows of nature.
It is probable that in Newtown we can feel confident that our graduates are ready for the next steps. Our schools are noted for quality education, and the drive to provide the best education is one that is continually put at the forefront by our Board of Education and the many people involved in the schools, from custodians to counselors, from safety officers to administrators, from support staff to instructors.
Our students learn from elementary school on that we are a community of caring people. Learning goes beyond the walls of every school. Those who volunteer with the many organizations and houses of faith are examples for young people; paying it forward has become a tribute to the lives that ended on 12/14 and a habit now ingrained in residents and visitors alike. Acknowledging and accepting differences is regularly addressed in homes and classrooms. Our youngsters are not afraid to speak out to help themselves or others, and our community can be proud that we have set a high standard for them.
We know, as well, that our children are privileged to have teachers who have great expectations and who deliver lessons in meaningful ways, giving each one an opportunity to excel. We should have no doubts, nor should our children, that they may not meet the expectations of their new lives in new environments.
On June 11 and 12, we will watch young people grow before our eyes. Every step becomes a leap into the future — a future bright with hope and possibility.
Yes, the world can be fearsome. But our young people can draw on an inner strength. They are fierce enough to make their ways, they are kind enough to forge paths of peace, and they are powerful enough to demand changes and to be the change they hope to see.
Congratulations to the Newtown High School and Newtown Middle School Classes of 2019. We are confident you will find the right paths to follow. Move on; move on to learn and teach and prosper. Our futures are in your hands.