On behalf of the 8th Grade Class; teachers; staff; administrators; the Board of Directors; the President of the Board, Courtney Quinn, Parents, and friends of Fayerweather Street School.
Today I want to talk about the word resiliency. Sometimes it can be an overused word, but it is a word that describes how we grow, learn, and transform from our experiences.
According to the American Psychological Association, Resilience is the process and outcome of successfully adapting to difficult or challenging life experiences, especially through mental, emotional, and behavioral flexibility and adjustment to external and internal demands.
You sit here today before the people who love you and see the best in you ( your parents, your teachers, our staff, and students). You have met the external and internal demands of learning at Fayerweather. You have learned to be resilient in the face of feedback from teachers and staff about who you are as a human being and learner.
In your relationships with your friends, including working through conflicts and misunderstandings, as well as being supportive and encouraging, and learning from each other
By managing the expectations and, sometimes, the demands of your caretakers and family and by advocating for your values and beliefs
Now, I want you to picture a toolbox. Imagine all the tools you gathered during your time at FSS. I will name just a few of these tools you can rely on to grow your resiliency as you transition from this place.
You know the conditions that support your best learning. You know who you are as a learner. This understanding has come through your many experiences here at FSS.
You know the importance of asking questions or being curious.
You have learned that there are many ways to solve problems and how to reflect critically on ideas
You have learned that there are multiple perspectives and ways of being; You get that what you see and understand about the world depends on where you stand.
You know the importance of having empathy, voice and agency in advocating for your perspectives, interests, and well-being. You have made your voices heard on a number of issues, from animal dissection to your perception of what is fair and equitable.
You have learned this and much more through many discussions, the books you have read, the people you have met here, and the diverse people with whom you have relationships (your teachers, administrators, staff, and peers).
As you move from FSS, know that you will be challenged in ways that will strengthen your character and sense of self but sometimes may cause you to question your self-worth. Remember the tools that you received here and use them not just to elevate yourselves, but to strengthen your resolve as you journey to high school and beyond.
I will leave you with this poem, entitled “Tethering to Possibility” By Lisa Olivera.
May we find what tethers us to possibility.
May we use those tethers as a resource when we forget.
May the unknown hold miracles and magic, and mystery and expanded vision.
May we include goodness when we think of all that might unfold ahead.
May our worries be leveled out by our capacity to imagine.
May the best days of our lives serve as reminders to stay open to life.
May the beauty of what’s happened nurture during moments of grief.
May we not let the cruelty of the world take away our ability to dream.
May we let what’s possible guide us during seasons it’s hard to see ahead.
May our wounds be tended by the things we couldn’t have dreamed of.