Outstanding Seniors

Since 2012, one of my favorite (and most anxiety producing) responsibilities in my role as the COE’s Middle-Secondary Program Coordinator at Butler University is to write the address for Senior Celebration night which ends with the  announcement of the graduating class’s Outstanding Middle-Secondary Student award winner. I love doing it because it provides me a bit of a respite at the point in the semester usually fraught with stress, deadlines and demands to stop and reflect on the joyful journey I’ve witnessed another group of amazing students take.  The address almost always begins the same way–recognizing (okay, bemoaning) the difficult task of naming just one student for the award. Each time I write it, I struggle with the paradox that while I start each address nearly the exact same way year after year, it is no less true each time I say it. In the act of writing, I’m always reminded of what a privilege it is to have witnessed up-close so many moments of transformation in these young people. In the act of addressing the class, I’m reminded of what a privilege it is to witness up-close the specific moment of transformation where we change roles from being students and professor to being colleagues.

This spring, as I’m only sabbatical, the privilege of writing the address belongs to my colleague, but even as she prepares to give the address, I’m still thinking about the joyful journey this group has had. This got me thinking back to the other addresses I’ve given and I thought  I’d like to share those past addresses here to honor my former students and to make their beautiful teaching practice more public.

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