Thursday, May 18, 2017

Thoughts on Middle School...

When I say middle school was the hardest time in my life, I wouldn't be exaggerating. That time when everyone is looking at you, or at least it feels that way... judging you... and even though it's the same for everyone, you feel alone.

 I can't imagine what it's like with all of the social media in today's world.

 Today, though, as I sat in those bleachers, I thought of all of the good times I had at SMS. Making music videos in Jack Strong's room and my first solo in Chorus ...and lounging on the track and sneaking over to the nursing home to get pops from the employee lounge... cheer practice in the lobby and movies in the library....

 I wouldn't go back to middle school or high school for any amount of money, but I recognize the immense opportunity in front of those students sitting in the floor today. To them, the next four years may or may not creep by... but to us parents, it will seem like overnight. Such potential in those seats, but also so many who will face obstacles no kid should have to face. Thinking back on my class at SMS, there were over 200 of us. 176 graduated. Some of them moved. Some of them dropped out. I don't know what happened to some of the others, and those are the saddest stories, perhaps, because they somehow slipped through the cracks. 

 I saw the whole gamut of emotion today- exhiliration and full joy, tears of happiness, maybe a little amazement from some kids. Fear and apprehension about the next steps of life...

 I feel like I'm in commencement speech mode even though I never gave a commencement speech in my life... but I'd say the same things to those 8th graders as I said to the graduating seniors... except I'd remind them that they can choose their path to life. For those in my class who didn't graduate high school, somebody sometime along the way stopped believing in them. 

 BELIEVE IN YOURSELF even when noone else does. And if noone else believes in you, know that Caleb Bates's crazy Mom believes in you. I may not know you from Adam, but I'm telling you here's one adult that will be in your corner. 

 Statistics tell us that being from Eastern Kentucky make us disadvantaged. We live in poverty and to many are a hopeless cause. I'm here to tell you that YOU ARE OUR HOPE. Sorry to put that on your shoulders... but you can do it. Choose to rise above the apathy and the drug addiction and the helplessness. And don't ever give up. 

Proud of you, 8th graders!!! Looking forward to good things from you in the coming years!