Rep. Gail Lavielle had the opportunity today to speak to the graduating 5th grade students from Wolfpit Elementary School.
The following are the remarks she gave:
“Don’t ever let anyone tell you that getting through fifth grade isn’t a big deal. It’s huge!
“Now I know that people talk about the heavy weight of the material in sixth grade, the responsibilities, the status of middle school, but don’t let anyone fool you – fifth grade has the real stuff. You can’t get through fifth grade unless you’ve put in serious thought and effort. Folks, you’re not just kids anymore – you’re genuine academic veterans, and you’ve earned your stripes!
“Now, of course you’ve done the heavy lifting here, but what a great place to do it. Although I haven’t been lucky enough to have been taught by any of your wonderful teachers, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting with many of them. I can tell how much they care about this school, about how much you all learn, and about each and every one of you as individuals. And let’s not forget how much the parents do to make going to school at Wolfpit an experience that people remember with great fondness for the rest of their lives. Every time I come to something here – like the Pumpkin Festival, read aloud day, Wolfpit Day – I’m just struck by the fun, the involvement, and the sense of community.
“So there’s a part of today that might be just a little sad. Leaving something you know well is always like that. But it’s also a wonderful thing to have an experience you can think back on with real pleasure. That’s a gift that you’ll take away from here and you’ll always have.
“And then there’s the other part of today, and it’s very exciting. You’re going off to something new — new teachers and staff, new friends, new subjects, new activities. Of course, everyone is different. Some of you probably can’t wait to start middle school. And others might find it just a little scary to do something you’ve never done before. That’s OK. But here’s what I’d say to all of you – whatever you’re feeling, it makes perfect sense, and all you have to do is jump right in with both feet and go for it! You have a real treat ahead of you. Being here at Wolfpit has given you the foundation to get right out there and do whatever you want. You can read. You can do math. You can write. You can order your thoughts. You can enjoy and respect and appreciate other people. So now you can do anything you set your heart on doing.
“One of the wonderful things about our country and our state is the sheer variety of people among us and the different pathways our schools and our society offer for taking best advantage of our individual talents, skills, and ideas. If you know what you like and what you do well, and you’re willing to work hard, there are plenty of opportunities for you. A good education – the kind you’ve had here at Wolfpit — helps you understand those things. It teaches you how to absorb information, to assess it, to organize your thoughts about it, and to develop a point of view. It helps you learn to know yourself. And it teaches you to keep on learning and learning and learning for the rest of your lives.
“There’s a great joy in learning if you’re open to it, and I think imparting that joy is the single most important goal of education. If you’ve felt it even just once, no one can ever, ever take it away from you. I know you’ve all felt it. Now the secret is holding on to it. Remember how you felt when you were reading a book, and you discovered a new fact all on your own? Remember when you touched a piano and when you first realized how two particular notes sounded together? Remember when you saw a new word and looked it up and used it for the first time? As you move on through middle school and beyond, remember the feeling you had and that this is what you’re there for. There will be other pressures and other things. But this is the one part of your life when you can take the time to learn as much as you want and explore and discover as much as you want. Whatever anyone tells you, this is what matters, and when you learn, whatever you learn, you can always, always be proud of yourself.
“So enjoy your summer, and then have the time of your lives! It’s there waiting for you!
“Congratulations to you all!”