It’s Friday afternoon and I’ve just witnessed the middle school “lip sync” assembly. I have what has become a frequent part of my life since joining Orange Charter 6 years ago, an enormous feeling of pride. I am proud because kids who are normally shy and soft-spoken felt comfortable enough to get up on stage and lip-synch songs in front of their teachers and peers. I am proud because, in some cases, I just witnessed a totally different side of kids that I’ve known for a long time. I am proud because everyone is having fun, supporting one another, and no one is judging. I am proud because I cannot even say these moments are rare here, they are not. They happen all the time. At the end of the assembly the teachers got up an lip-synced their own song: “Everything is Awesome” and right now I really feel like it is. Are we perfect, no, but boy I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
When I think back on my own middle school experience it is very different. I remember not having the “right” cloths or the “right friends”. I remember feeling so embarrassed I could barely walk down the hall. I remember being afraid to share my grades with anyone if they were good. I remember good times too, but as I’ve learned in my profession, our brains are hard wired to remember the bad, not the good. I know that our middle school students are not immune from bad experiences. I know all too well what some of them have had to endure. But today, in this moment “Everything is Awesome” and I am so truly blessed to be a part of Orange Charter School.