It’s official. Our beloved grade 5 Bulldogs are grade 5s no more! After 6 years of elementary school, the COVID19 situation has them drifting away, rather than going out with a festive bang. We’ve been very happy to see them this week as they came by the school for a final farewell, and we’re happy to be able to offer up this farewell from them. We know it’s not what anyone planned or hoped for, but we hope it gives you reason to smile.
Grade fives, it probably seems like forever ago that you first came to Richard Bulpitt, eyes wide with anticipation, hands trembling a bit, perhaps, with nerves. You came to us with open hearts and minds, and you learned so much. You learned to line up, to wait your turn, to apologize. You learned letters and numbers, science and socials, new games and funny tricks. You learned musical instruments and art techniques. More importantly, you learned how to ask good questions, and then find the answers. You learned how to solve problems, and then how to generate your own. You learned how to hear the word ‘no’ with grace and maturity. You learned how to win well and lose well. And throughout that learning, you enjoyed the support of your teachers and educational assistants; of seven different principals or vice principals, but only one Ms. Davies; and most importantly of your parents and families, because teaching kids is a community effort. Since we cannot gather all together to thank these supporters, I want you to make sure you thank as many as you can when you get the opportunity.
You have come through a year like no other in recent history. You started the year as our oldest, our leaders. You’ve shown leadership here at the school and beyond. You’ve been willing to help, you’ve led assemblies, you’ve monitored our younger students. We asked you to be role models, and you delivered. The year went on, and you left thinking Spring Break would be a 2 week holiday from school. It turned into 3 months of remote learning, Teams conferences, and MyBlueprints. You learned more technology and collaboration skills in the last three months than people my age learned in our whole school careers. You’ve shown us flexibility and adaptability that we always want to see, and often don’t know how to teach.
When I am frustrated in my own work, you remind me why I love working in education. You make me and your teachers smile, think, and wonder. And so, as we contemplate losing the you of the present, of right now, we are both sad and proud. You’re ready to move on, even if we’re not ready to let you go. But before you leave, I want to thank you for all you have done for the school, for your teachers, and for me this year. You are awesome.
Now, grade 5s, look to the future. The near future – already you’re done with elementary school forever and have the summer stretching out before you. The medium future – Just a bit over two months and you’re middle schoolers, with lockers, and more than one teacher, and homework, and more. And the far future – Just a bit over a decade, and some of you will be teachers, or mechanics, or farmers, or artists, or musicians, or working on becoming doctors. And at all points in that great, long future that is ahead of all of you, please hold on to the spirit that I see and appreciate in you every day. Your willingness to make or take a joke. The innocence and wonder that will help you always find inspiration in the world. Don’t let go of the spirit of helping and service that has made you such a sincere pleasure to work with and know. More than anything, keep alive your sense of hope, and of purpose. You will be told this more times than you want over the next few years, I’m sure, but you are the future for all of us here in the room. And it’s a bright future.
I want to finish by thanking some people on your behalf. Mrs. Makaroff & Ms. Joo, Ms. Kondo, Ms. Rattan, and Mr. Arthurs have guided you on this last year at Richard Bulpitt. Ms. Bahia, Ms. Turner & Mrs. Pyrch, who have helped so many of you. The Education Assistants who have worked in your classes all these years. Your previous teachers, who set you up for success. Your families. Thank you all for your work on behalf of these grade 5s and all students at Richard Bulpitt Elementary. Thank you for your patience, support, and ideas.
I wish you all the best that life can offer, grade 5s, and I wish you success, prosperity, and most of all, happiness. Wear your lifejacket, bike helmet and sunscreen (though maybe not all at once), stay curious and alert for the wonder in the world, and remember, you’ll always be a Bulldog!