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Welcome parents, teachers, and friends to the commencement ceremony of the class of 2019. It is our pleasure to watch you walk down this aisle across this stage and into your new lives.
You are equipped with those 21st century skills and competencies: communication, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity. The skills that are meant enable your success in an era of exponential technological change.
But It’s not enough.
The world is already changing at such a rapid rate that we risk forgetting why we ultimately make our big choices.
So rather than encouraging you to speed up in order to keep up, I invite you to slow down. Take stock. Pause. And reflect.
You’ve heard me talk about our mission, and I feel like I have to because it guides everything we do around here.
Let me jog your memory. Four years ago, we set about to revise and revive our school mission. In fact, a few of the parents involved in that effort are among you today.
“Cultivating learners with the agility of mind and confidence of spirit to become culturally proficient human beings”.
Each phrase was scrutinized and selected with purpose and intent. The one that feels most relevant for today is: HUMAN BEING.
It was risky choice but it was that nod to our common humanity that just felt right. And looking at how the world has changed since then I realize that we were really on to something. Society needs reminders to behave in a humane and respectful manner.
I get a lot of reminders from parents to nudge their kids to work harder. There was one parent I used to meet often. Our conversations always started with me describing his son: he’s such a caring young man. He’s a delight. At which point the father would say: Horoshi chelevek ne professia? Being a good guy is not a profession.
I used to agree with him because I share his desire for our kids to work hard and stay focused.
But it’s not enough.
The world has become a nastier place. Maybe being a good guy should be a profession.
At the recent conference for school leaders, Brett Schilke of Singularity University challenged schools to reframe how we talk to kids about careers in a future they cannot yet imagine.
In addition to accountant, I was surprised to learn that technology will replace the profession of doctor.
So, in order to prepare kids to be future-focused, he suggested, and it makes sense, that we shift the conversation from careers to considering what they hope to enable. Rather than aspiring to become a doctor, they can aspire to enable health and well-being.
Then it hit me.
The most important message we can send you off into the world with is BE KIND.
BE KIND TO OTHERS
BE KIND TO YOURSELVES
STRIVE TO ENABLE KINDNESS…and you will find success. And that is ENOUGH.
Rebecca Juras. Director