On the first day of school for both the Juniors and Seniors, they were greeted by a big sign that stated "What is your hope?". The students were then asked to write on a large banner what their hope was for this year. The idea came from Mrs. Falk who first saw this done on YouTube. It was being put on by Parkway School District in St. Louis Missouri. I'm not sure what the initial reaction was of the students as they walked into school and already had an assignment to complete, but I can tell you the outcome was awesome.
After the second day when the seniors had a chance to sign it, the banners were put on display in our commons area. They are hanging on the wall for all to see. I would hope all of the students and staff would take some time and read them. I found the responses to be really interesting and really allowed us a little peak into the window of our students life. Many of them hoped to meet new friends, to not be lonely, to obtain a certain GPA or have excellent attendance. The more I read the banners, the more my eyes are opened to the thoughts of the students as they come to Vantage.
I want each and every student to at least think about what is your hope for the year, even if you didn't sign the banner. When you set goals and have hope for the future, you begin to walk the path of a very successful life. I remember a quote from one of my all time favorite movies, The Shawshank Redemption, Andy stated "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies".
I was talking about the banners with Mrs. Wilhelm and I asked her what her hope was. What she told me had such an impact on me that I want to share it with all of you. She said, "I only hope that all the students truly realize how much we care for them". WOW! What a great statement and one that I do hope our students realize. When we tell you to push your chairs in or remove your hats or pick up your trash, we are only doing it because we want to teach you to be the best person you possibly can. We want you to be ready to go out into the real world and be a positive influence to others and also be successful in your career. We have a wonderful, caring staff here at Vantage and each and everyone of us cares about all our students. It makes us so proud when we hear stories of our graduates successes. We love to have our grads come back and visit and tell us what they are doing. We truly take a lot of pride in our school and every student.
I'm sure you are wondering what my hope for this year is. I had to think about if for awhile because there are so many things to hope for. I finally came down to this statement; I hope that I can be there for all of our students and that the students will come to me when they are hurting or need to talk. I never like to hear that a student struggled with a problem alone or tried to deal with a bad situation on their own. Please know that I am here for you and together we can work through the issues you are dealing with. I hope that you will trust me and trust our confidentiality. Let's all keep hoping because hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things.