Chris Lehmann’s Graduation Speech has the ring of a mission statement for all of us working in schools and struggling to keep our eyes on the prize:
And after you have forgotten the granular details of the periodic table of elements, continue to honor the scientific spirit of inquiry, always asking powerful questions and seeking out complex answers.
That is, we hope, what you have learned from us. That inquiry, research, collaboration, presentation and reflection are not just words in a mission statement but an iterative process of learning that can and will serve you the rest of your life if you let it. And perhaps above all else, remember that throughout that process, there are those in your life who have been there, who have cared about you, who have mentored you, and in doing so, hope that you will pay that forward. That you will care for those around you. That you will understand that the intersection of that ethic of care and that spirit of inquiry starts with asking the question, “What do you think?” caring about the answer, and then taking action.
Congratulations, Chris, and to SLA’s class of 2011 as well. I agree; it’s more than just words. Take care.