Closing Remarks 2018

Good morning, and welcome students, teachers, parents, and special guests to the 2018 Middle School Closing Ceremony. It is my pleasure to share a few words with you as we end another school year and prepare for the summer months.
This day is always a special day. For students, it’s a time of transition from one grade to the next. In particular, a heartfelt tip-of-the-cap to our eighth graders, as they are moving from Middle School to Upper School. For parents, today is a milestone day. It’s a day to take pictures, a day of deep reflection, and a day to celebrate. For teachers, it’s a day to acknowledge the completion of another successful school year. Time moves quickly in our lives, but don’t let today pass without recognizing the importance of this moment in our respective journeys.
Toward the end of the year in the hallway, a sign hung on the wall. It simply says,
--Today You Are Here--
It was part of an eighth grade science project exploring time and space, but it caught my attention for different reasons almost every time I passed it. I pulled it off the wall while helping to clean the hallway last week.
Today You Are Here.
In one sense, this message implies that you are valued, you have worth, and you can make a difference. Sometimes it’s easy to feel a bit lost in the crowd, but this sign is a reminder that each and every person in this room is present and capable of making a difference. Every person in this gymnasium has a voice—let your voice be heard as a valued member of your various communities.
Today You Are Here.
These words also invite us to appreciate the people in our lives today, perhaps at this ceremony. It is special to be surrounded by family and friends, and this message, on its face, serves to remind us that each day is a gift with the people in our lives.
Today You Are Here.
Holistically, this sign speaks to me because it’s a reminder that each day is an opportunity to engage with those around us. We all spend time both reflecting and looking ahead—and these two elements of time and space are critical to learning and growing—but the only moment we can impact is the present. Feeling hampered by the past or anxious about the future only serve to divert our attention away from the people, ideas, and possibilities currently in front of us. When you fully invest in the moment, you allow yourself to listen deeply, to notice the finer details, and to exchange ideas creatively and authentically.
Henry David Thoreau once stated, “What lies before us and what lies behind us are small matters as compared to what lies within us.” Eighth graders: as you move forward, be all in. Be present in the classroom, always treat others around you with dignity and respect, and let the goodness in your soul shine each and every day.
Today You Are Here.
It’s a bit ironic that I am asking you to consider the present on a day that celebrates the past and looks forward to the future, but allow yourself to indulge in the celebration that is now. Today is truly a wonderful moment of the year—congratulations to our eighth graders; we are proud of you.
I also want to thank all of the Middle School students for a terrific year, and we look forward to seeing the younger students again in September. Thanks to the teachers for your incredible professionalism, collaboration, and hard work. And, thanks to the parents for your commitment to GSB—it’s been a pleasure working with you and your children; today is also for you.
Summer is an amazing time of the year, so go out and read a good book, play in the sand at the beach, and enjoy each moment with your with family and friends. Thank you.
Gill St. Bernard’s is a private, coeducational day school for students age three through grade 12, located in suburban New Jersey. Each of the three school divisions provides a rigorous, meaningful, and age-appropriate curriculum, and all students benefit from the environmental learning opportunities that exist on our 208-acre campus.