Just before the holidays, Seabury's middle school students participated in a writing project based on the NPR radio series, "This I Believe, in which people share essays about the core values and personal philosophies that influence their lives. After working through a variety of activities designed to encourage students to consider their own core values and beliefs, each student wrote his or her own "This I Believe" essay.
The insights our sixth and seventh graders had into the people and events in their lives that helped shape them were incredible. Students wrote about injuries and illnesses and things their parents have done that let them know they are loved. Funny things. Tragedies. Special experiences. Many of the students wrote about incidents that happened at school - like getting sick at camp or being injured and not being able to play soccer. Incidents I had witnessed in many cases, but had no idea what transformative experiences they had been for the students.
One student, sixth grader Nick Schulaner, wrote about the experience of losing his stepfather, Patrick Maher, a police officer killed in the line of duty, when Nick was in kindergarten. Nick's essay, in which he shared his wish to offer hope to the families of officers involved in recent shootings in Seattle, Lakewood and Eatonville, was featured in a local news story and on a local news blog. His words not only had a profound impact on his classmates, but brought comfort to many who are grieving in the community.
What a gift these students are. It is a privilege to work with such insightful, inspiring young people!