Last night's graduation was incredible. In the past we have had "featured speakers". Two years ago we went away from that practice and have nominated three graduates to do the talking. Our students delivered a very powerful message.
When driving home with two colleagues, we talked about assessment and could honestly say that 80-90% of the grads could have delivered a speech at commencement just as good as the three chosen. We know this because our school requires our grads to present many times before they graduate.
We ended the ceremony with a video staff produced of images collected of the grads during their time at our school.
Picture the scene; the grads are sitting off to the side in cap and gowns. From where they are sitting, they will not be able to clearly see the film. So unprompted they jumped from their chairs and crowded on the floor in front of the stage like kindergarteners at a school assembly.
At that moment they rediscovered the joy of childhood knowing they would soon walk into the world as adults. Hopefully the greatest lesson they learned at our school was the ability to access this joy. This joy of fun, of silly games, of whimsy; hopefully this nugget will sustain them on the rest of their journey.
These are the moments that make my struggles seem worthwhile. It is what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes a peak experience. Those fleeting moments where everything else is quiet but that one thing, and in that one moment all was right with the world.
Thanks to all the parents and staff for making our school possible. NWPHS truly is a special place.