Good afternoon and welcome to all parents, staff members, and most importantly Forest Green grade 6 students. We are honoured to celebrate this day with you and not only your grade 6 year, but your entire time that you have been here at Forest Green. As there are several staff that have been here for the whole time, it is amazing to see how you have grown in this short time.
Tonight is an opportunity to celebrate and reflect on the many years that the students have contributed to our school, while also celebrating the opportunities that they will have as they move on to the next phase of their educational career. This is obviously an important night for the students, families and the school. As we look to say goodbye tonight and I look at the faces of the grade 6 students, I remember back to when I was leaving my school. I distinctly remember my principal looking at me and saying the following two words…”Get out!”
Seriously though, as the year progressed, I loved coming to visit and chatting with the grade 6 students. Sometimes we had “pep talks” and sometimes we went for slurpees. As principal, I have always tried to look at the mistakes made by our students and see them as opportunities to have some great conversations and help them move forward in their lives. We had SO many conversations this year
Looking back at your time at Forest Green and on this earth, I think of all the things that have entered your life that were never in mine. YouTube was started in 2005, Facebook in 2004, Twitter in 2006…the iPod was invented in 2001! During your life, some of the most amazing innovations have happened. I am excited to think of what YOU will create in your next years and how the things that you do, will inspire and change the world.
When I think about all of my interactions with you, and what I have seen from your intelligence, your creativity, and your amazing personalities, I wonder what innovation will come out of your passions in the future. When I was a kid, a “leader” was one person that everyone followed. The more we look at that word, I believe that a leader is someone who can inspire people with their passion.
You have all inspired me in some way… for example, Calandra with her love for people, Shae Lynn for sharing the importance of her cultural background, Natasha with her quiet nature and kindness, Carter for his love of sports, and Jaydee for his love of Greek mythology and telling me that my name Couros in Greek represents “Evil Principal”. I could go on about all of you, because in some way, you have inspired me to be a better principal, and more importantly a better person.
As Stephen Covey says, “Leadership is communicating a person’s value so clearly, that they see it in themselves.” I saw this in all of you every day. Every day I was at school, you guys would ensure that you said hi, came and talked to me, or asked me about the game last night. Tyler even stood up for me and ensured that although my three-quarter pants may not be fashionable in Canada (many call them capris or Manpris), but they were VERY fashionable in Europe. That is good enough for me!
Everyday that I connected with you, I always walked away feeling better by myself. Your love for life and enthusiasm inspires me.
As you get older, and take the next step, I want you to remember the following advice. Never give up on your passions or dreams. All too often as adults we feel we may be too old to keep pursuing our dream or that we have “adult” stuff that is more important. There is so much we can learn from kids, and especially your class on having dreams and chasing after them. That dream is part of you and having you share a piece of it yesterday in your Identity Day presentation both humbles and inspires me. As I take my step, it is because of your inspiration that I continue to follow my dreams and do what I love. Making a lot of money is so distant to being happy. Of course it would be nice to do both, but love and happiness is more important than anything.
When you leave this building today, continue to follow your dreams, continue to care about all of those around you, and live your life full of passion. I know you will all create something and be great!
I wish you the best, and I will miss you all dearly! Best of luck and congratulations.