Friday, May 18, 2012

Closing Remarks to My Chinquapin Students

This week I wrote my final "closing remarks" as Academic Dean at the Academic and Athletic Awards Ceremony for Chinquapin Preparatory School.  Here is a copy of what I shared with the students, faculty, administration, and parents in the audience.

If you have never had a chance to see the theatrical troupe The Reduced Shakespeare Company, I suggest you check them out on YouTube.  I’m going to borrow their strategy, which involves squeezing the Complete Works of William Shakespeare into 20 minutes and Hamlet into about four. [Okay, so I exaggerated a bit here.] I won’t be nearly as amusing as they are, but I hope to be at least as brief, as I share with you, the last time I may speak this way to most of you., a sort of reduced poem of my many exhortations to Chinquapin’s students over the past seven years, encouraging them, you, towards academic excellence.

Here goes.

Read the newspaper. Every day.
Do you have a planner?
You know, it’s okay to fail. It’s the only way you learn.
What made you think that was a good idea?
Read what you enjoy, but read. Every day.
Get enough sleep.
What’s the worst thing that can happen?
Dream big.
So, where’s your planner?
Let’s try that request again, only this time a little more politely.
Make your writing like Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.
Don’t make your writing like jello with icky fruit cocktail.
Write like you mean it.
Write like it matters.
Does anybody here use a planner?
Get enough sleep, eat protein for breakfast.
Do you know what pulling an all-nighter does to your body?
It’s like you’re taking that test drunk.
Come to the game ready to play.
Everybody back to work, now.
You can do this.
I know you can do this.
Why don’t you believe you can do this?
If I can do this, you can do this.
Find your passion and go for it.
Get enough sleep, eat breakfast, do what you can to create a culture of kindness.
Don’t settle for less than excellence.
Don’t settle for being mediocre.
Don’t settle for anything less than your best effort.
Don’t settle.
Do you know who your real competition is?
Really? Do you know who your real competition is?
Why not start living your life today?
Why not start pursuing your passions today?
Why not start working towards your dreams today?
Why not?
What are you waiting for?
Would you like a planner?

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