While our friends in Australia are in the middle of the school year, June brought an end to classes in North America. This of course meant graduation and speeches. We wanted to share the farewell words of wisdom offered by Craig Cantlie, Principal of Caulfield Elementary School in West Vanouver.
The following words are those he shared with his students who are leaving for high school. We think there are lessons in here for all of us.
Congratulations! You are off on a new adventure; one that you can go forward and explore with confidence because you are prepared.
First off, you learned a lot of amazing lessons in Kindergarten that have continued to serve you well throughout your elementary school years.
Don’t hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic and stick together.
Wash your hands before you eat.
These guiding principles you learned when you were five will serve you well for the rest of your life so please don’t forget them.
In elementary school we expose you to a little bit of everything in terms of academics, arts, athletics and service. Here at Caulfield you have had learning experiences that have been conceptual, digital and hands-on.
You didn’t learn about government, you learned the power of a democracy.
You didn’t simply learn math facts, you learned how math concepts were relevant to the world around you.
You didn’t only learn how electricity works, you learned how to harness it.
You didn’t simply use technology as a device to aid in gaining knowledge, you used it as a tool for collaboration, communication and creation.
You didn’t receive content, you critically assessed ideas.
You have learned how to learn. And, as a learner over the years you have been provided opportunities to discover where your personal strengths lie and worked to achieve personal excellence in all that you do. I’ll tell you now, you will enter high school a step ahead of everyone.
So, now is as a good a time as any for some reflection. As you go off on your next adventure who are you? Are you an innovator, a creator, an entrepreneur? Do you learn with your hands, your head or your heart? Are you athletic, empathetic, do you like to think critically, do you like to help others?
Recognizing these traits in yourself will guide you into the future and help you be successful in what you strive to achieve. It is less about defining what you want to be and more about what you want to do.
Often my 4-year-old son will tell me what he wants to be when he grows up. He’s a little less able to connect his strengths to future jobs but he does alright. A few years ago he wanted to be a working man – I think that was influenced by the fact that we had a house being built next door to us and he watched them create something tangible, and he likes to build with his hands. He’s also wanted to be a fireman which I think has to do with us living in a busy part of the city where we have frequent sightings. Who wouldn’t want to ride in a truck with a loud siren and blaring lights?
Lately his focus is to be a superhero and or a school principal because he wants to help people. I tell him those two roles are really the same thing. The point here is that what he chooses to do at this point is really based on the world around him. What you choose to do will be based on the world around you. Make sure that world is as broad and diverse as it can be – it will make you a more interesting person and give you more choices in the future.
To do this, be curious and determined to expose yourself to as much as you possibly can. Step out of your comfort zone because that is where the magic happens. Join clubs and sports that your friends aren’t interested in and you’ll broaden your horizons. Take advantage of all opportunities that come your way and sometimes choose the path less travelled – you never know where it might lead.
So, make the most of your adventure by remaining confident in who you are as a person. Being true to what you believe and to your interests while also remaining curious and open to the world around you.
As you move to high school keep your Caulfeild REPutation intact by being responsible, empathetic, persevering and demonstrating personal excellence in all that you do and I promise you will be successful.
Congratulations on your achievements and remember to make the most of your new adventures. Bon voyage and remember to Be the Bear.
Caulfeild IDEC / Eagle Harbour Montessori