Letter to My Graduates: Class of 2020


To the students of Mrs. Simon’s third grade class;

It has been almost two years since the first day I walked into your classroom.  I’ll never forget how it felt walking into that room.  I knew in an instant that this was the classroom I was supposed to serve in.

At 23, I didn’t realize how much you as 8 and 9 year olds would teach me.  As you progress through your education, here is what I hope you remember as you walk across the stage to graduate in 2020.

Follow your dreams. Every day you would tell me you wanted to be a firefighter, a teacher, a City Year corps member and would ask me what I wanted to be in return.  Go do those things.  You showed potential as a 3rd grader because of your tenacity and humor – don’t give up on those dreams. We believed in each other and I will always believe in you.

Be a leader. We spent a year talking about what it meant to be a leader. Many of your answers blew me away. You all could pinpoint the exact moment when someone was a leader and someone was a follower. It is all about choice. Choose to make the decision that sets your life up for success. Leading by example is the most powerful way to lead.

Take advantage of every opportunity. One of our favorite things to do together was read about new and exciting places.  Travel as much as you can, learn about the world around you, and then decide how to make a positive impact on the world.  If you can study abroad – do it.  If you can take a trip – go. Learning comes from putting yourself in new and sometimes frightening situations, but those lessons are the ones that mean the most.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. One of my favorite quotes from Isaac Newton says, “If I have seen farther, it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants.” There are people in this world who want to help you and who will help you in any situation, all you have to do is ask.  After all, it was the first time you raised your hands that we began our journey through third grade together.

I am proud of you.  I hope that our time together made an impact on you, for as I go on, I will always carry the indelible mark you have left on me.

The “Letter to My Graduates” series will feature different corps members hopes and wishes for students they served with during their corps year. Check back every Monday this month to see more posts from corps members serving at school across Washington, DC.

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