Middle school was, for me, a long time ago. So long ago it was called junior high. I rode my bike to school with Les and Woods and Buddy and Tom.
What the future held we hadn't a clue. Our parents trusted that school would prepare us. Amazingly it did even though our present is so much different that we could have imagined.
Tonight I sit in the middle of 45 eighth grade students. We are on our way toWashington DC. 29 boys in front of me. 16 girls behind. I occupy the demilitarized zone so to speak. I am gatekeeper, peacemaker, guardian.
The parents of the 45 students on Bus 4 and the parents of the other 280 students in six other buses trust that our school will prepare these young children for their future. I believe that we will. Even though the future is hard to see clearly.
My parents and the parents of Les, Woods, Buddy, and Tom could not have foreseen the powerful forces that have shaped our world. Technology, social media, globalization, media, war, terrorism, diversity. The changes have been profound in ways large and small.
And tonight I both hope and plan that our schools will prepare the students on Bus 4 for the future that will transform into their present.
It's now past midnight. Surprisingly Bus 4 is quiet. In this relative calm I can sense the possibilities that lay ahead. Both for tomorrow and the years ahead.