At the end of a long journey, it’s good to look back and reflect on your adventure. You’ve probably spent 13 (or so) of your 18 (or so) years on this planet in School. Formal education is a journey that more than a billion children undertake every year (if they are lucky). From as young as three to early adulthood, this ‘thing called school’ must be pretty important since we have designed the childhood stages of life to fit inside a school calendar and weekly schedule.
Be grateful – if you’re graduating then you’re lucky (ie. not one of the 300 million children who don’t have access to education).
Education systems all around the world reflect similar structures – schedules, curriculum, etc etc. Nothing much has changed since I went to school (unless you’re lucky enough to come to a school like Green School). The underlying foundation of most schools is: students learn from teachers. The youngest learners are closely instructed through their school life – basically told what to learn, when to learn, how to learn – with teachers leading students through every step of the way. But, as students get older, good teachers in good schools start to loosen their grip on controlling the learner experience. This makes sense, as you get older your teachers become mentors and learning facilitators, guides.
Be respectful – now is the time to pay gratitude to your mentors and guides. Again … you’re lucky to have such awesome people in your life. Respect your mentors. Respect your privilege.
From the day you were born to now, through countless learning experiences, challenges, opportunities, highs and lows, friendships, conflicts, loves and hates – through all of your special lives, you’ve had other people helping guide your learning. And as you let go and move on, find good people to learn from, respect them, respect the privilege and opportunities you will have, and share your learning and your gifts generously with others. As you leave this tribe – your teachers and your school community, you truly become the masters of your own learning. You have sole responsibility (or ‘Soul Responsibility’?) for your own learning. This is a big deal.
Be aware – what you do, what impact you have, what you learn – this is all now up to you. It’s time to give yourself an education.
I have confidence in the future … because I have confidence in you. And, this confidence in you is because of the innovation, compassion, creativity, honesty, awareness and activation in your Green School community. I’ve seen you grow and learn, through this year, and for some, over a period of eight years. I’ve seen you solve problems, be kind, be creative, adapt and think critically. I’ve seen you fall down and get back up on your own. I’ve seen you ready yourself for this big leap out of school. You have left this School a better place. Now go leave this world a better place. Graduates of 2021, you are ready.