Thank you, Dr. Harvey,
Wow it seems crazy that we are just about ready to begin another school year! I hope everyone had the relaxing and fun summer that you all worked so hard to enjoy. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Clare Howley and I was elected by my peers for the fourth year in a row to serve as the president for the class of 2016. I am so excited to have the chance to speak this morning and wish each and every one of you a successful school year.
As Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. You all are helping to change this world into a better place by instilling knowledge into the minds of so many. To possess the characteristics of a teacher is something in itself. It takes a special person to be able to teach a class of twenty children, seven hours a day, five times a week for nine months.
It takes a remarkable and exceptional person to be able to ignite the minds of students and instill in them a love for learning. I believe that the way that teachers go about this is to simply believe. Believe in your students and show them that you have faith in them and their ability to flourish and thrive. Mr. Bucci, my freshmen year World-History teacher is one of those unique people that is able to grasp the attention of his students and show them that he believed they could succeed. Despite the fact that his class may have been one of the harder classes in my high school career, I loved it. He is not the type of teacher that tolerates goofing off, but a teacher that demands respect. In order to gain the respect that he wanted from his students he showed them respect, while also believing in them. It might pain him to hear that I don’t remember everything about the Protestant Reformation or the Ottoman Empire but I do remember his style of teaching. He made everyone who raised their hand in class feel like whatever they had to say to contribute to the class discussion was important. It didn’t matter if your comment was related to a topic that we had learned three months ago, Mr. Bucci would always show excitement in what was said and somehow take that comment and use it to segway into his next point. Students may have entered that class on September 1st scared to talk, but I can assure you that after the first few weeks, they realized that their thoughts and opinions were always welcome and never shot down. Students also left that class with a whole new perspective on both learning and teaching. The excitement and passion that Mr. Bucci showed in his classroom was contagious and it was impossible for the people in the class not to be excited about whatever the class discussion was about. He has made a positive impact on so many by simply showing that he believed in his students.
As we enter a new school year, I encourage you all to believe. Set the standard early. Earn respect by showing the students that you respect them. Coming from the perspective of a student, if a teacher shows you that your ideas, opinions and contributions are important, the work ethic and class morale will rise astronomically. All of you were born with the special characteristics— patience and perseverance being two of the most prominent ones— that enable you to be great teachers. It is hard to believe that in just a few days I will be entering senior year as it seems like yesterday I was entering high school as a timid freshmen. If it were not for your patience and perseverance, and the belief that many of you have showed me each day for the past three years, I would not be where I am today. Thank you for educating me, giving me the passion to learn and equipping me with the most powerful weapon and most effective tool to change the world. I wish you all the best of luck in this upcoming year!
Thank you, Dr. Harvey,