Tuesday, June 21, 2016

A Salute to the Class of 2020

by Matt Marenghi

You’d be hard pressed to hear anyone fondly reflect upon their middle school experience. Suitably summed up by one of my favorite comedians, it is the point in life when you discover you are quite interested in gaining another’s affection, but also the time when hormones wreak havoc upon your appearance and shake your confidence to the core; a truly cruel joke nature plays on us.

Admittedly, there isn’t much you can do to prepare for this transition into adolescence. We often lean on the anecdote that you only have to make this rough transition once...and unfortunately no, you cannot just skip it. Emotions can be sensed to their fullest, but are not able to be accompanied by the reflective capacity to understand that tough times do not last. This class had their fair share of moments to build up their reflective reservoir. Their ability to embrace, rather than be beaten up by, these adolescent moments will surely serve them well.

The Class of 2020 met the rigors of middle school head-on, pulled together when things got rough, and had certainly made the Blake community their own. Even when not at their best, this class maintained an endearing quality that eased whatever frustrations their actions may have evoked. They were a testament to how working with this age group can be such a truly awesome experience.
As the Class of 2020 entered Blake Middle School in Fall of 2013, they presented with a general enthusiasm that would pour into our hallways. 216 engaging personalities that would inevitably hit bumps in the road, but who nonetheless kept moving forward. Coasting along with, and occasionally re-directing (i.e. “guiding”), this forward momentum has been such a fantastic experience, and surely one that I will never forget.

Two journeys began fourteen years ago: I began my professional life as a Guidance Counselor and the Class of 2020 began life. Fourteen years ago the world was completely shaken up by the events of 9/11, and despite all the tragic events that have happened since, this class gives me confidence and hope that good, caring people will dictate the trajectory and scope of our future.

In closing, a quote from one of my heroes, Mr. Fred Rogers:
“We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say, ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.”

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