I am a very lucky person. I have a career with purpose and passion. One of my primary places I work is as a social worker at a high school. Classes ended last week and final exams will begin on Monday. Last Friday the seniors had the opportunity to wear their caps and gowns to school and go visit their former elementary school and middle school as a celebration. Their faces beamed with pride and joy. They did not only wear their caps and gowns. These young people wore the success of conquering twelve years of school. Success is the accomplishment of a goal.  I can’t think of a better day to talk about success.

Because of my role in the school I know for some of these graduation seniors school has not been easy. Their home life, histories of trauma, challenges in learning, social and peer hardships, substance abuse, mental health issues made school hard. For some school was a safe place to be. For some there was so much trauma history or family hardships that the face they even showed up to school was incredible. Some teachers and staff where supportive of these students. Other were not. Lots of educational time was putting into partnering and educating staff about how someone’s history impacted all areas of their life. Knowledge is not only power it is empowering.

There were parents and guardians who did not trust the adults at school. Some of the adults and guardians had horrible relationships with their children. These kids would show the signs of wear and tear on them. They had a difficult time trusting adults, behavior outbursts, and did not want to comply with any rules or expectations. So you know what we as school staff continued to do that helped? We continued to show up, support and guide, believe in the student’s potential and possibility, and care.

Maya Angelou has this beautiful quote: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.

The students who have and are experiencing a multitude of hardships did not give up. They keep coming to school. They kept working when they did not want to. These students developing caring, trusting relationships and began to see their own potential and possibility. They began to experience success.

For some of these young people life after high school is not going to be easy. Their life challenges will not melt away after they receive their high school diploma. Yet this success, this achievement can never be taken away from them. This success is truly theirs. Even though there were caring adults around them, each and every single student had to do the work, write the paper, take the test, run the mile in PE and more. They earned the right to this moment of success. Forever each and every graduating senior will be able to say I did this⭐️🎓

Well done class of 2019🎉