My name is Tim Boyle, and as principal at RMS I have the greatest job in the world. First of all, I want to thank Emma Hadden, Amanda Emmerton, and Emma Letendre, all the 8th grade teachers, and the countless others who have worked tirelessly to plan, construct, and pull off our “hybrid” 8th grade celebration. This year I was privileged to be a front row witness to all the amazing things the Class of 2020 accomplished, and I am glad that we are able to gather in some way to acknowledge them.
We started, as always at RMS, with many successes this fall - on athletic fields, in art, in music, in all our electives, in the theatre, at the talent show, and, of course, in the classroom. But we also saw the adaptability and empathy that would become the hallmark of this class. Students formed a kindness club, organized a climate strike, and raised money for the Haven and for Pets for Vets. As Winter moved into Spring we dodged a snow-storm to put on our Renaissance Festival, and felt as if the 4th quarter would be a usual celebration filled with tissue paper balloons and an examination of what it means to be human. However, by the second week of March it became clear that this class would face challenges unprecedented in our history. Who knew that Friday, March 13th - a full moon and a planned dance day - would be our last in our beloved building this year. Remote learning had begun.
Teachers and parents, out of necessity, forged new bonds - uniting in ways we never have before to thoroughly dismantle the walls between “school” and “home.” As administrators during the pandemic we realized that our teaching staff had more than doubled - to now include all those adults currently sitting somewhere watching this celebration. Students, please take a minute to thank those in your household who helped you during the past 12 weeks complete your unique middle school experience. Parents and caregivers relearned algebra, baked bread, mastered the ins and outs of Schoology, and never stopped advocating for you in this crazy time. Thank you RMS adults!
As amazing as our families were, our students were even better. This class proved resilient, strong, and persistent. Teachers and administrators quickly realized that we needed student contact as much, if not more, than they did. Their optimism, willingness to adapt and try new things, and to create meaning and joy in a changing world, helped us all. We want to thank the students for helping us see our way through a world that was strange and new for educators - empty buildings, no classrooms, and something called zoom. Thank you.
I promised I would keep this short, hard for an old social studies teacher, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the skills, creativity, and resilience you have shown this spring will be vital in the world in which we now find ourselves. Our country faces a crisis in humanity unlike we have seen in a generation - and we need the empathy and understanding of our youth more than ever. We have seen over and over again our students’ willingness to work together to meet challenges, and to stand for justice and equity. We need your leadership to have the courage to stop standing by, to listen honestly to each other, to speak for those ignored, and to realize that, as you’ve shown us, we are better together.
Thank you to the Class of 2020. Thank you for a wonderful, unique, and unforgettable first year at RMS. Enjoy this celebration and the summer beyond. We will be watching you, expecting great things, and continuing to learn from you.
Congratulations and remember - The Geese have got it.