Pursue Passions, Exude Empathy, Ignite Positive Change

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Pursue Passions, Exude Empathy, Ignite Positive Change

The following speech was delivered as the Eighth Grade Celebration welcome during the ceremony on June 11, 2024.

By Aléwa Cooper
Head of School

Eighth graders, today, we celebrate you and your accomplishment of successfully completing your Middle School studies. This is a significant milestone in your educational journey. You have much to be proud of, and I hope you can feel the pride exuding from those around you this morning. I will take a moment to acknowledge your loved ones. 

Parents and loved ones, congratulations to you! Your dedication and partnership ensured your children thrived. The growth they've experienced throughout their years here at Foote is a testament to your unwavering support. Thank you for all you have done and will continue to do to support them and us. Your support has been essential to your child's success.

Eighth graders, this day has probably felt like a long time coming, though I’ll bet that for your parents, your years here seem to have gone by in the blink of an eye. Whether you were a student for two years or nine years, the lessons you learned here will remain with you as you embark on this new chapter.

As you move forward, remember the importance of leading with compassion, courage, and purpose. At first, high school can be a daunting experience: unfamiliar faces, challenging academics, and unexpected opportunities. It is precisely within these moments of uncertainty that your courage must shine through. Take risks, step out of your comfort zone, and pursue your passions with unyielding determination. Do not let fear hold you back, for it is through bravery that we discover our true potential.

Leading with compassion means being a source of support for your classmates, lending a helping hand to those in need, and striving to create a culture of inclusivity. Acts of kindness, empathy, and understanding can make an immeasurable difference in someone's life. Remember, a small act of compassion has a ripple effect that has the potential to extend far and wide.

Leading with purpose involves making choices and taking actions that shape who you are as an individual. Your behaviors influence those around you, whether you realize it or not. Be the person who inspires others through your integrity, dedication, and resilience. Show kindness, honesty, and respect to all, regardless of their background or beliefs. Your actions can serve as an example to others and ignite positive change.

Your foundation is strong because of what you learned here. Next year, I expect you will profoundly impact your school communities, whether here or elsewhere. Continue to grow, learn, and make a difference. Remember what you’ve been able to achieve with the support and guidance of the people around you. Your classmates, parents, family, friends, and teachers are your village, and we all want the best for you. Your teachers have been instrumental in your growth and have supported you in innumerable ways. Let’s take a moment to give your educators a round of applause to show your appreciation for the time and effort they’ve put into making your time at Foote meaningful and dynamic.

Celebrants, I wish you the courage to pursue your dreams, the compassion to lift others up, and a sense of purpose to inspire those around you so that your future experiences are academically enriching, illuminating, and empowering. And I’ll remind you one final time to do what is right—say it with me, even when no one is watching.

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    Since 1916, The Foote School has provided child-centered education that nurtures creativity, excellence and joy in learning.