Hello everyone, good morning! I hope you’re all doing well~ If you don’t know me already, I’m Jewels Hatchard and I am entering my sixth year being at Stoneleigh-Burnham School. Even though I’ve been here for six long years, each new year brings new challenges.
This year I have some challenges to face as we all do, some of mine being that I am a Resident Assistant on the ninth and tenth grade corridors, an OEK (one of the eight senior heads of the school) and I want to be a good community member and good student. So let’s do this by dictionary definition. A community is a group of people with a shared set of activities, practices, beliefs, and social structures. Here at Stoneleigh Burnham, although we do have our shared set of rules and practices, we are also so very diverse in background and in how we choose to share our practices, beliefs and cultures!
There are several components that go into being involved in a community as well as being an individual within a larger group. Some things to keep in mind about a community are that the purposes of a group's members may change over time, its members may come and go; however, the importance of group membership depends on individual leadership and that will last a lifetime.
Since that sounds a little daunting and intense, what I’m really saying is that you are in your own way a core pillar of this community. What you choose to do and how you choose to carry yourself and interact with others affects every single person here in this room. “People seem to believe that their lives amount to nothing, that their lives are just drops in the bucket. However, they fail to realize that even if our lives are just drops in the bucket, each and every drop leaves ripples." I want you to think about this as the year carries on. Ripples can be large or small and they continue until they end at their destination wherever that may be. Through the simplest gestures such as a wave in the hallway, a smile, a hug. That could be someone else’s ripple. You may think of it as nothing, just one drop in the scheme of things, but that could mean the world to someone else, their whole bucket.
As I stated when I began this speech, being a good community member will be a challenge for me and most of us here so I’ll explain what that means to me. Being a good community member does not mean participating in every single activity on campus, placing yourself into every single club that is offered, but I believe that it is giving something to the community that is important to you. Being a boarding student, when your parents first drop you off they are giving something that is very important to them to this community, many argue the most important.
I want you to think about your passions, your goals, what it is that makes you happy, and I want you to see if that happiness is something that you can give others. I think that being a good community member really means spreading happiness. I’m a dancer and I like to share the happiness I feel when dancing to others when I perform! Whether you’re an artist or an athlete I challenge you to try and transmit your happiness to the other people of this community. When I first came to Stoneleigh Burnham I felt so welcomed by the people and the cozy aura here. I wish to continue this home-like feeling and I hope that you all will accept my challenge to be a good community member and spread your happiness with others!
Now for the other challenge that I purposely left for the end. The final challenge that I listed at the start of this speech was that I want to be a good student. I know that all of the students in the crowd are thinking the same, and plotting ways to achieve the grades that they desire. I believe that in all of the convocations I’ve attended since starting here in seventh grade, each has had their speaker say something along the lines of “don’t stress, grades aren’t everything, just have fun.” Even though I heard those amazing words said by my peers in their speeches, I still had a lot of stress around grades. As I was listening to the speaker in my head I was just thinking GRADES ARE EVERYTHING. So, to avoid some similar reactions, I’m not going to say that grades aren’t everything because for some of you they might be. Instead I’ll leave you advice of how to get through the stress and still get good grades.
1) Don’t overpressure yourself. Achieving and maintaining good grades is like cooking rice. If you over cook it, then it’s not good and if you undercook it, it’s not very good either. Aim for balance, give yourself time to adjust and learn new material, and give yourself time to practice those skills until they become comfortable. Remember the rice, try to not to over or undercook it. This leads to my second advice,
2) Work hard but still treat yourself. This means to push yourself out of your comfort zone a little, but with respect to step one, don’t overdo it. Set smaller goals and when you achieve them give yourself a treat! I’m not saying that once you finish one paragraph of a history assignment to then treat yourself with three hours of Netflix, but I am saying that once you finish that paragraph you can take a 10 minute break, stretch, buy yourself a snack from the vending machines, draw a little, whatever you think would be a nice reward for accomplishing your small goal. My third advice is one of the most important,
3) Sleep. I know that it seems counterintuitive and that you don’t think you’ll be able to finish your work if you sleep; however, I can tell you that you get more quality and quantity work if you take care of yourself first. It will take you five times as long to finish a task when you’re extremely tired because you’ll have to focus on recentering yourself and force a product. Whereas if you took a power nap and you are now ready to finish your task, then you can refer to advice 2 and treat yourself with advice 3 SLEEP! Now for the last and most important step.
4) Try again. Maintaining good academics is a huge challenge and the most important thing is to forgive yourself for not always making it. You should always try to do your best and there is always growth in failure, so value that. Try again. If you overcook your rice, forgive yourself and try again to find your balance; if you don’t sleep much one night, forgive yourself and try a new homework schedule. Trying again once you mess up eventually leads to success, so I ask you to keep trying and do your best!
I know that this has been kind of long and at this point all you can probably remember is me saying something about rice, something about drops and ripples in a bucket, something about happiness? So just to recap and close, challenge yourself this year! Be the drop of water that creates ripples and affects everyone in this community, and remember my advice about grades. Four steps. 1) Don’t overpressure yourself, 2)Work hard but still treat yourself, 3) Sleep, 4) Try again, keep trying, be persistent and relentless when running toward your goals.
I hope that we can have an amazing year together and I believe that you will all accomplish something incredible.
Thank you! Let's enjoy this year!