I would like to begin by gratefully acknowledging that we are celebrating today’s farewell on the ancestral lands of the Squamish Nation. Welcome everyone to the 2018 Grade Seven Farewell Ceremony.
Today may be a farewell, but it is also a celebration of all your learning. Learning that is guided by the philosophy of “Dare to go Further.” For the last number of years you have been learning in environments that most people see in university, tech companies or forward thinking enterprises. You have been challenged with learning that encourages you to be critical and creative thinkers – not regurgitators. Whether you have been asked to Design the Dream solution to a Defined problem or Acquire and Apply knowledge from critical questions – you have learned how to think differently.
What wisdom I want to share with you today is from an experience a group of staff members had when we went out to do some of our own learning. We headed to Seattle earlier this year to visit a few companies at the forefront of their industry so we could find lessons we could embed into student learning.
What we noticed at these companies were work environments that look like our classrooms. We saw the importance of collaboration, communication and critical thinking skills and we came to understand the importance of being agile, flexible and hard working in the new age of work. All skills and traits that have been taught and reinforced during your time at Caulfeild.
One of the most impactful aspects of our learning though dealt with leadership. We were very impressed with the Leadership Principles all employees at Amazon are asked to adhere to and I wanted to share some of them with you today.
Learn and Be Curious
We have taught you to make learning happen. Don’t let it just happen to you. Leaders are continually trying to learn more to improve themselves and they are curious about new possibilities. Whether this learning happens through research, conversation or experience never let the adventure of learning stop.
Insist on the Highest Standards
Continue to raise the bar on your achievements. Deliver the best you can do, in all you do. When working with a team, inspire excellence amongst yourselves. We talk about personal excellence in all we do here at Caulfeild. Continue that as you move forward.
Have a Backbone; Disagree and Commit
There is nothing wrong with having a different opinion than others – just make sure you voice it, respectfully. If you truly believe in something, move forward with conviction but remember that listening to differing opinions can add value to any decision you make.
Leaders listen attentively, speak truthfully and treat others respectfully. Essentially, Be the Bear.
Don’t get stuck in the small details. Think differently about things and shoot for the stars. When you think big you will have more opportunities for new ideas and new directions. You are leaders, if you think small – small things will happen. Think big and the possibilities are endless.
The essence of these leadership principles are not new to you, and I share them so you know you are prepared for your next challenge – life beyond the comfort and care of elementary school. You have the skills and traits to positively impact the world. Go forth with confidence.
And I would like to end by saying thank you grade 7’s on behalf of the school. You have been an incredible cohort of students (and parents). As we built our inquiry learning and design thinking model, you embraced it and excelled; and when we changed our classrooms, you adapted and taught us even more about the power of our space. Most importantly though, when we began to build more community, you took the lead. You have been throughout the years, wonderful role models. Whether it was watching you go down the slide with a K student to show them how easy it was when they were scared, climb up the spider to help a stranded and probably crying primary student make their way down, patiently and tirelessly referee grade 1 soccer games that were always filled with “our ball! he kicked it last” or “I didn’t know that was the rule”or watch you enthusiastically play handball in your orange vest as you were supervising, you have continually modelled joy and the way of the Bear for our littles. You are like celebrities to our younger students and you have handled yourself with class and character while representing what truly makes Caulfeild a special place, our children.
Be responsible, empathize with others, persevere and strive for personal excellence in all you do and you will continue to be leaders that make us all very proud.