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Northern Virginia Private School Offers Four Lessons to its Class of 2018

What follows is Ms. McDermott’s speech to the Pinecrest School Class of 2018 at the K-6 Spring Concert and Sixth Grade Graduation on June 5, 2018:
Last Thursday, Ms. Mitlo, a parent and I took the sixth graders to a challenge trip at an aerial adventure park in Maryland.  This is a high ropes course where you are harnessed in and have “the opportunity” to do high elements – high as in 20 or 30 feet in the air – where you are walking across a tight rope of sorts or across logs and where whatever you are putting your feet on are getting farther and farther apart as you go along.  We all learned a lot on this trip.  Ms. Mitlo and I learned we will never do anything like that again.  But, watching our kids do this was truly a very special experience.  They were so brave and amazing.  What I want to share with our graduates tonight are some very important lessons I think you embodied when you were 20 or 30 feet up in the air.

  • You can do hard things!!!  I don’t think I need to explain that one.  (And, yes, I am the person at the park who yelled this from the ground – and also said it to myself as I was attempting these challenges myself!)
  • Similar to hard things, sometimes things are scary but you can still do them.  You can count to three and you can go and you can do it!  And then the next time you have to do something scary, it might be a little less so because you got through that first thing.
  • You always have a choice.  You can keep going through something hard – you can persevere – or you can stop and go a different way – take a different path.  There is no right choice or wrong choice.  Only you know what’s best for you and you have to listen to your own heart and not the other noise around you.
  • And finally, being encouraging makes such a difference.  We all saw first-hand how some of the other kids at the adventure park acted.  Be patient.  Be encouraging.  Stay true to you, and always be curious.  You don’t have to be at Pinecrest to act in a This is community kind of way, and I hope you always will remember this and live it as you move on.

By Ms. McDermott

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