The Best Reason to Homeschool is Not What You Think

The Best Reason to Homeschool is Not What You Think

Perhaps you’ve read the articles and are pumped about the possibility of donning professor robes and providing advanced tutelage in biochemistry and British literature to your eager two year old.

Maybe you’ve already started homeschooling and realize that preparing your kids for college by the age of twelve is proving to be harder than you thought.

Whether you’re new to the idea or a veteran home educator, I’d like to ask you to reconsider your reasons for homeschooling.

Continue reading “The Best Reason to Homeschool is Not What You Think”

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#TBTB #TBT – Do It Like Disney . . . .

ThrowBack Thursday

Walt Disney has some of the best customer service in the service industry.

But should it?

Please enjoy Mr. Brewster’s “Do it like Disney. No, wait . . . Like God.” because if Disney treats people better than Christians do, we have a problem.

Do it Like God

 

 

#TBTB #TBT – Here I Stand

ThrowBack Thursday

What is education? School? Teaching?

Read this valedictorian address from Erica Goldson to see fantastic answers springing from maturity beyond her years.

Imagine an educational system where teachers and students learned the way God created them to for the reasons God created them to.

Imagine that.

Please enjoy “Here I Stand.”

Here I Stand

 

#TBTB #TBT – Skanky Movie III

ThrowBack Thursday

This week we asked Mr. Brewster to write the introduction to his introduction to Douglas Wilson’s “Skanky Movie III.”

—————————–

I’m a counselor.

I work with children and parents every day.

Not a day goes by that I don’t think, I’d love to help this kid, but the greatest help I can be to them is to help their parents.

Yes, children are responsible for their own choices, and mom and dad are not solely to blame for the way their children turn out . . . but I think statements like this are touted far too often by people who are blinded to the role they do play in encouraging their children down the wrong roads.

We parents need to own the very significant part we play in all of this.

“Skanky Movie III” by Doug Wilson is a wonderful little article that reminds dad and mom how our wrong thinking can set our children up for trouble.

Please enjoy “Skanky Movie III.”

Credit Where Credit is Due & Skanky Movie III

The Most Important Thing I Can Say to Mom: and dad too

The Most Important Thing I Can Say to Mom

You’re a parent.

Nine months of new experiences, discomfort, pain, and joy ushered you into the shimmering sphere of parenthood.

Since then, depending on how old your children are, you’ve experienced twenty strollers full of new difficulties, learning experiences, hardships, and happiness.

Whether you chose to educate your children formally or not, you’ve inevitably distilled and instilled more life lessons into them than potentially any other human being ever will.

And for this cause, parents like you have been celebrated in literature, video, blogs, memes, tweets, vines, and graffiti.

mom graffiti

And yet, the question must be asked – what qualified you to be a parent?

Continue reading “The Most Important Thing I Can Say to Mom: and dad too”

“Behold: the two absolutely worst arguments against homeschooling” – Matt Walsh

I was homeschooled.

I know. Crazy, right?

In fact, my parents were those “weirdoes” who started homeschooling before it was hipster and intelligent.

We were on the front edge of the movement.  We were the ones all of the crazy myths and rumors about homeschooling were either made about or thrown at.

Unfortunately, society hasn’t learned from its mistakes, and once again we encounter people who have stepped beyond ignorant into a category called “willfully ignorant.”

So is the case with the man who sent Matt Walsh an e-mail about homeschooling.

Enjoy!

The Matt Walsh Blog

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Here’s the email I received last week. I was saving it for today, as I’ll be speaking at a homeschool conference tomorrow:

*The subject line of this email was: “Not all public school teachers are the devil.”* 

Hi Matt,

I’ve been a pretty decent fan of some of your writings, and while I don’t always agree I find that you sometimes have an entertaining way of presenting your opinion. Anyway, all due respect, I find myself having a hard time continuing to follow you now that I’ve gone back and read through your views on education.

It doesn’t so much bother me that you seem to be PROUD of your lack of a college education. You seem to be of the lucky few smart enough to get away with having no real education to speak of (congratulations). What I can’t reconcile myself with is your vitriol and hatred for public…

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Evermind Ministries

What Does Evermind Mean?

If you Google the word evermind you will find links for bands, web designers, and organizations. You will also find that Merriam-Webster says it’s not a word. Hmmm.

But Evermind Ministries is a Bible-based organization with a very well-defined purpose.

In the late 90′s Aaron Brewster came up with the word evermind to mean the exact opposite of never mind. It means simply “to continually keep at the forefront of one’s mind, and to make the center of one’s thoughts and motivations.”

We chose to use this word for our Ministry because we’ve found that God’s truth is frequently the last thing on people’s mind when they’re in line for coffee, navigating a mine field of bad drivers, in the throws of a child’s tantrum, or when they’re typing empty words into a business memo. But the divine reality is that God’s truth should not only always be in view, it should be the reason we’re standing in line for coffee or handling a child’s tantrum.

I Peter 1:3, “Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”

Everything I need for life can only be found in the true knowledge of God. That true knowledge can only be found in the Scriptures. We must evermind God’s Word.

Our Mission Statement is simple:

Evermind Ministries exists to keep God’s Word at the center of the human experience by teaching it, reminding of it, and applying it to life.

1. Teaching – Matthew 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations . . . teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.” Teaching includes any time someone hears God truth for the first time. This can be a gospel presentation, or when someone learns something new about God they didn’t previously know. It is one of our foundational tenants that God’s truth can only be learned from His Word, the Bible.

2. Reminding – The doctrine of Remembrance is fleshed out in the entirety of Scripture. Most of us don’t struggle with biblical ignorance so much as we simply forget what we know. James 1:23-24 “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. ” We have God’s truth in His perfect mirror, but then we forget what we saw there! We all need daily reminders about what we have learned.

3.  Applying – When we apply sunscreen, do we leave the lotion in the bottle? Do we pour it on the ground? Of course, not! We spread it directly where it’s needed. The application of God’s truth is something that is daily ignored in our Christian culture. We memorize verses about loving God. We tell people from the pulpit that they need to love God. But many Christians wonder, “How do I love God? What does that actually mean? Is loving God any different than what I’m already doing?” Teaching and reminding people of God’s truth is fruitless if we do not intentionally apply it to life.

How Does Evermind Fulfill It’s Mission?

We are tackling our three-pronged mission with a three-pronged communication approach.

1. Counseling – We view our counseling program not simply as advice or clinical therapy. Counseling for us is a dynamic, life-on-life, intentional discipleship process that utilizes the Word of God to find the answers we need for life and godliness. It’s iron-on-iron, one-another ministry. Though we are delighted to offer biblical advice and give counsel via social media, email, Skype, etc., our counseling ministry is primarily a local ministry to the people geographically near us. As more people join Evermind Ministries, we will be able to biblically counsel more people in more places. Until then, we’d be happy to point you to biblical counselors in your area who can do for you exactly what we would do.

2. Speaking – God’s truth was meant to be spoken. Counseling affords an intimate, one-on-one or small group setting, but conference speaking gives us the opportunity to share God’s glorious revelation with larger groups. Time allowing, we would love to participate in your conferences, special meetings, services, chapels, and programs. Over the past ten years we have ministered in churches, schools, camps, mission boards, universities, boarding homes, academic associations, and Christian media companies. We count every opportunity to teach, remind, and apply a blessing from God. If we can partner with your ministry, please contact us at AaronMichaelBrewster@gmail.com.

3. Social Media – When we can’t be proclaiming God’s truth with our lips, we turn to the internet! We have a presence on Facebook called Evermind Ministries, you can follow our founder, Aaron Brewster on Twitter @AMBrewster, and you have obviously found our blog, Taking Back the Bible. We hope to grow our internet presence with more articles, links, and videos. Our goal is not our own popularity, instead we desire to do this because our day and age has afforded us, like no other, the opportunity to reach people we otherwise would never have met. We can simultaneously teach, remind, and apply the Bible to millions of people in hundreds of countries! We would ask that you strongly consider following us online and sharing anything we post that’s a blessing to you. It’s so easy to share God’s Word with the simple click of a “share” button!

How Can You Help Evermind Fulfill Its Mission?

Please strongly consider doing one or all of the following:

1. Pray – Petition God that He grants us the grace and wisdom we need to share His truth in His way for His reasons.

2. Follow – Like us, follow us, and share us on social media. The more people we can reach with the answers to life and godliness, the better!

3. Invite – We know there are a lot of resources available out there, but we would love to partner with your family, group, class, ministry, or program. We have a driving passion to share with the broader body of Christ what He is daily showing us!

Thank you for taking the time to get to know us.

Always,

Aaron M. Brewster and the Evermind Staff

Do it like Disney. No, wait . . . like God.

Do it Like God

Why does the world perform customer service better than Christians?

In preparation for our first week of summer camp at Schaumburg Christian Day Camp, I’ve been training my staff using business tips from Walt Disney himself. Now, lest you fear that I am preparing a group of Christian counselors with the mere musing of the Mouse Man . . . do not tremble my brethren.

Here’s the thing: Most of Disney’s principles on running a successful business and growing a customer base can really preach! Isn’t that so often the case? Any time the world finds something truly amazing, earth-shattering, and guaranteed to work every time . . . we find out God’s been saying it all along.

Let’s look at a couple of Disney’s precepts and see how they compare with the Ultimate’s precepts.

1. “Two Ears, two eyes, and one mouth, use them in that ratio.” James is not the first biblical writer to warn us of the evils of the tongue. Proverbs overflows with admonitions such as this. Disney Cast Members (employees) are instructed to hear the Guest (customer) out. Listen to hear the real need and meet it as efficiently as possible. They are also told to watch their speech in front of the guests who have come to Disney World to escape the baser things of life, not to hear Cinderella lamb-basting Jasmine because she won’t cover her shift.

2. Make “Wow Moments by exceeding the guest’s expectations. This particular ideal has much in common with Panera Bread Company’s “We break any rule to satisfy a customer.” Here’s how it works – a customer complains that their sandwich wasn’t made correctly. Of course, the associate (employee) is listening intently so as to know how best to fix the problem. What is the customer expecting? They obviously want a sandwich made the right way. If the sandwich-shop employee remakes the sandwich, is that going to “wow” the customer? No. All he’s doing is meeting an expectation. An expectation, mind you, that wasn’t met correctly the first time. So, how do you wow such a customer? You give them what they expect, and the drop something on them they don’t. “I’m sorry your sandwich wasn’t made correctly. Here’s the corrected sandwich and a fresh pastry do show you how sorry we are.”

In that moment, the customer (no matter how miffed they were) can’t help but look a little surprised. They weren’t expecting that. They were “wowed.”

Where’s the biblical principle? Everywhere. Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind to one another.” Providing solely what is expected is not kindness, it’s common sense. Kindness exceeds the expectation. I Peter 2:20 tells us, “For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.” What does it matter if we patiently bear up under a tongue lashing we deserve? But if we smile and speak gracious words in love when that customer berates us, we’ve not only created a “wow moment,” but we’ve found favor with God in the process.

Time would fail us to speak on not taking vengeance on poor tippers, heaping coals of fire on the heads of messy children, loving our enemies who tell the boss we weren’t doing our jobs, and doing all to the glory of God whether I’m eating and drinking on break or serving soup.

3. “What time is the 3 o’clock parade?” Disney used this very common question at Disney World to reinforce the above points, and then teach a little about giving the benefit of the doubt. The answer to the question seems clear, but how often have we found ourselves asking stupid questions (it doesn’t matter what your teacher said, they do exist)? My administrative assistant used to work for the USPS where she was frequently asked if they sold stamps. Ouch. But here’s the thing. Disney taught his people to see beyond the question. They needed to give the guest the benefit of the doubt that they really didn’t see the obvious answer but were desirous for assistance. A heart of respect and love keeps us from responding rudely when confronted by perceived idiocy. Instead, we realize that a real person is seeking a real answer.

The second part of this was the Cast Member was encouraged to “add value” to their answer. “The parade starts at three, and the best place to view it from is . . . .” Not only did they give the helpful answer, they gave the guest the wow moment they weren’t expecting.

The point is this, Christians should be the quintessential experts on all things customer service. Yes, the Bible is sufficient for on the job conflict as well. We should be the most kind, the most helpful, the most forgiving, the most sacrificial, the most friendly, the most joyful, and the most productive individuals on the planet. Why? Because we have been created by God to be so, commanded by God to be so, and empowered by God to be so!

The New Me: Part 5, “Student Leaders”

Welcome to Part 5 of The New Me. Get caught up on the rest of the story! Click to view Part 1, Part 2Part 3 & Part 4.

Two years had passed since I taught my first 6th grade class as SCS. But it was time to say goodbye to elementary. I found out over the summer that I would be moving up to the secondary level. I know not everyone agrees with me, but I love working with older kids. I find their reasoning skills are more defined, and they don’t always take everything at face value. If you’re not 100% genuine with them . . . they see it. I also have a burden for them because their level of independence is catching up with their decision-making abilities. If they do not have a firm foundation in God’s truth, they will flounder and fall once the world is turned loose on them. Side Note: You’re not turning your kids loose on the world. You’re sending them out into the battlefield. I guarantee you the Army didn’t send a bunch of new recruits to storm Osama Bin Laden’s bunker. The commanding officers knew the enemy would destroy them. So why do we send off our unprepared young people into the world as if the world is the one who should watch out?! But I digress.

My new semester lineup included JH Bible, JH Speech, 9th grade English, 11th grade Economics, SH Speech, and Yearbook. I also took on the upcoming 9th grade homeroom. As the year progressed I was reminded every day why I love my job. I had the opportunity to take things like diagramming sentences, Jevon’s principle of diminishing marginal utility, and proper voice projection and apply it directly to my students’ lives. God’s Word came alive in discussions of friendship, moral tone, insatiability, and persuasion. Side Note: If you can’t find God in the mundane, you will struggle to find Him anywhere.

This continued for 3 years, and every summer my school room became a camp ground. But during second semester of my 5th year (3rd year teaching high school), the Lord provided me with a new challenge. Our school, like every other, is full of sinners (we teachers are included). But for the most part, the teachers are the ones pointing the way up the path of righteousness, and there are always a core of students who want nothing to do with it. In fact, they are setting up neon signs pointing down the opposite way. Human nature being what it is, who do the fence-sitting students want to be like? Do they want to emulate their teachers . . . or their friends? So, every day the students become more like each other in the giant cookie-cutter factory. Of course, you’re wondering “What about those kids who genuinely love the Lord and want to serve Him?” I have two questions for you: 1. Where you that kid? 2. How were you treated? I think we adults become senile a lot earlier than we believe when we allow ourselves to think that the scorners in our schools aren’t tearing down our kids left, right, and center. Once again, let’s use the Army metaphor. These new recruits know they want to serve their country, but they have no idea how to fight. If the enemy infiltrates the ranks, there is little hope.

So, how do you help the problem? Train the soldiers with a sense of urgency! I had the idea to start developing student leaders by instituting a Student Body Council program. We had a quasi-student leadership program before but it had deteriorated into a popularity contest between which heathen and which pagan had the most friends. Side Note: If your students leaders aren’t outspoken testimonies for Christ . . . they shouldn’t be student leaders.

Please don’t misunderstand me. No one is perfect. I have seen my fair share of college Prayer Captains, high school Student Body Presidents, and (dare I say) church pastors do one thing or another to disqualify them from their position. But that doesn’t mean we throw the baby out with the proverbial bath water. I say, “No!” We don’t give up discipling because we know they’ll never be perfect!

My plan behind the SBC was four-fold: 1. Give the students visible and productive roles within the school in order to be a good example. 2. Allow the students to suggest and even enact change that would help our school conform to God’s will for us. 3. To teach the students how to handle themselves like adults. Teach them to run meetings, vote, brain-storm, and produce a quality product without being harassed or cajoled by an authority figure. 4. Disciple them. I desired to use this council as an opportunity to find those God-loving young people and work with them one-on-one to become true leaders for Christ.

The student body was started and I have to say that our first experimental semester went very well, and I am looking forward to next year’s council. I’m also excited about some of the SBC’s summer projects!

But this service opportunity quickly shot off another tendril of service opportunities. Side Note: Do what God calls you to do and watch the opportunities multiply! I can’t actually remember how I got it into my head, but I was inspired in part by a friend. Yohannan Lee works at SCS in the kitchen, but he also is a tremendous help to me when it comes to Yearbook. Yo, is a gifted photographer and graphic designer. He created five of our Yearbook covers, takes tons of photos, Photoshops them all, and loves every minute of it. He is also a videographer. It just so happens that photography, graphic design, and videography are some of my passions as well.

Before long he and I created Student Body Films to function as our production company. We also founded Three Hands Studios to handle the technical side. In that first semester the Lord allowed us to produce the following projects and start our own YouTube channel.

The first was delivered by our Student Body President as a way to introduce the new SBC and to tell the student body a little bit about how she viewed her school

The second was just for fun. Our basketball teams were both competing in the Illinois state IACS competition and we wanted to liven things up a bit.

Our third and longest project was designed to help our junior highers as they prepared for the state fine arts tournament.

The final finished project promoted our school play, Anne of Green Gables.

The overall goal is to help the student leaders have an impact far beyond the four wall of their school. We want to show the other students that they can make a difference for Christ if they just try. So far these few videos have been watched over 2,500 in over 20 countries. Next fall we will focus on more educational and spiritual projects as well as the occasional entertaining film.

Side Note: Never be ambitious for power and glory. But don’t pass on opportunities to widen your circle of influence. When He was bodily on earth, Jesus had hundreds of disciples, 12 apostles, 3 in His inner circle, and 1 who was considered the closest to Him (note that I did not say favorite). You don’t have to be intimate with everyone, but if you can write a book, keep up a blog, post videos on YouTube, or preach to people who most individuals will never have the chance to meet . . . then do it!

Pray for our student leaders. If God can capture their hearts and train them to serve Him with all of their minds, bodies, and strength they will be a powerful enemy against Satan and his destructive purposes. Train up the children!

An Educational Awakening

Here I Stand

I am saddened that Erica Goldson’s pursuit of truth has not yet introduced her to God, but I am amazed and thrilled that an 18 year old was wise enough to see the flaws in the American School system.

Instead of celebrating her achievements and reliving sophomoric memories, this valedictorian gave the American school system a sound whooping and a generation of students a much-needed wake-up call.

The following is her valedictorian address:

“Here I Stand”

There is a story of a young, but earnest Zen student who approached his teacher, and asked the Master, “If I work very hard and diligently, how long will it take for me to find Zen? The Master thought about this, then replied, “Ten years . .” The student then said, “But what if I work very, very hard and really apply myself to learn fast — How long then?” Replied the Master, “Well, twenty years.” “But, if I really, really work at it, how long then?” asked the student. “Thirty years,” replied the Master. “But, I do not understand,” said the disappointed student. “At each time that I say I will work harder, you say it will take me longer. Why do you say that?” Replied the Master, “When you have one eye on the goal, you only have one eye on the path.”

This is the dilemma I’ve faced within the American education system. We are so focused on a goal, whether it be passing a test, or graduating as first in the class. However, in this way, we do not really learn. We do whatever it takes to achieve our original objective.

Some of you may be thinking, “Well, if you pass a test, or become valedictorian, didn’t you learn something? Well, yes, you learned something, but not all that you could have. Perhaps, you only learned how to memorize names, places, and dates to later on forget in order to clear your mind for the next test. School is not all that it can be. Right now, it is a place for most people to determine that their goal is to get out as soon as possible.

I am now accomplishing that goal. I am graduating. I should look at this as a positive experience, especially being at the top of my class. However, in retrospect, I cannot say that I am any more intelligent than my peers. I can attest that I am only the best at doing what I am told and working the system. Yet, here I stand, and I am supposed to be proud that I have completed this period of indoctrination. I will leave in the fall to go on to the next phase expected of me, in order to receive a paper document that certifies that I am capable of work. But I contest that I am a human being, a thinker, an adventurer – not a worker. A worker is someone who is trapped within repetition – a slave of the system set up before him. But now, I have successfully shown that I was the best slave. I did what I was told to the extreme. While others sat in class and doodled to later become great artists, I sat in class to take notes and become a great test-taker. While others would come to class without their homework done because they were reading about an interest of theirs, I never missed an assignment. While others were creating music and writing lyrics, I decided to do extra credit, even though I never needed it. So, I wonder, why did I even want this position? Sure, I earned it, but what will come of it? When I leave educational institutionalism, will I be successful or forever lost? I have no clue about what I want to do with my life; I have no interests because I saw every subject of study as work, and I excelled at every subject just for the purpose of excelling, not learning. And quite frankly, now I’m scared.

John Taylor Gatto, a retired school teacher and activist critical of compulsory schooling, asserts, “We could encourage the best qualities of youthfulness – curiosity, adventure, resilience, the capacity for surprising insight simply by being more flexible about time, texts, and tests, by introducing kids into truly competent adults, and by giving each student what autonomy he or she needs in order to take a risk every now and then. But we don’t do that.” Between these cinderblock walls, we are all expected to be the same. We are trained to ace every standardized test, and those who deviate and see light through a different lens are worthless to the scheme of public education, and therefore viewed with contempt.

H. L. Mencken wrote in The American Mercury for April 1924 that the aim of public education is not “to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence. … Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim … is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States.”

To illustrate this idea, doesn’t it perturb you to learn about the idea of “critical thinking.” Is there really such a thing as “uncritically thinking?” To think is to process information in order to form an opinion. But if we are not critical when processing this information, are we really thinking? Or are we mindlessly accepting other opinions as truth?

This was happening to me, and if it wasn’t for the rare occurrence of an avant-garde tenth grade English teacher, Donna Bryan, who allowed me to open my mind and ask questions before accepting textbook doctrine, I would have been doomed. I am now enlightened, but my mind still feels disabled. I must retrain myself and constantly remember how insane this ostensibly sane place really is.

And now here I am in a world guided by fear, a world suppressing the uniqueness that lies inside each of us, a world where we can either acquiesce to the inhuman nonsense of corporatism and materialism or insist on change. We are not enlivened by an educational system that clandestinely sets us up for jobs that could be automated, for work that need not be done, for enslavement without fervency for meaningful achievement. We have no choices in life when money is our motivational force. Our motivational force ought to be passion, but this is lost from the moment we step into a system that trains us, rather than inspires us.

We are more than robotic bookshelves, conditioned to blurt out facts we were taught in school. We are all very special, every human on this planet is so special, so aren’t we all deserving of something better, of using our minds for innovation, rather than memorization, for creativity, rather than futile activity, for rumination rather than stagnation? We are not here to get a degree, to then get a job, so we can consume industry-approved placation after placation. There is more, and more still.

The saddest part is that the majority of students don’t have the opportunity to reflect as I did. The majority of students are put through the same brainwashing techniques in order to create a complacent labor force working in the interests of large corporations and secretive government, and worst of all, they are completely unaware of it. I will never be able to turn back these 18 years. I can’t run away to another country with an education system meant to enlighten rather than condition. This part of my life is over, and I want to make sure that no other child will have his or her potential suppressed by powers meant to exploit and control. We are human beings. We are thinkers, dreamers, explorers, artists, writers, engineers. We are anything we want to be – but only if we have an educational system that supports us rather than holds us down. A tree can grow, but only if its roots are given a healthy foundation.

For those of you out there that must continue to sit in desks and yield to the authoritarian ideologies of instructors, do not be disheartened. You still have the opportunity to stand up, ask questions, be critical, and create your own perspective. Demand a setting that will provide you with intellectual capabilities that allow you to expand your mind instead of directing it. Demand that you be interested in class. Demand that the excuse, “You have to learn this for the test” is not good enough for you. Education is an excellent tool, if used properly, but focus more on learning rather than getting good grades.

For those of you that work within the system that I am condemning, I do not mean to insult; I intend to motivate. You have the power to change the incompetencies of this system. I know that you did not become a teacher or administrator to see your students bored. You cannot accept the authority of the governing bodies that tell you what to teach, how to teach it, and that you will be punished if you do not comply. Our potential is at stake.

For those of you that are now leaving this establishment, I say, do not forget what went on in these classrooms. Do not abandon those that come after you. We are the new future and we are not going to let tradition stand. We will break down the walls of corruption to let a garden of knowledge grow throughout America. Once educated properly, we will have the power to do anything, and best of all, we will only use that power for good, for we will be cultivated and wise. We will not accept anything at face value. We will ask questions, and we will demand truth.

So, here I stand. I am not standing here as valedictorian by myself. I was molded by my environment, by all of my peers who are sitting here watching me. I couldn’t have accomplished this without all of you. It was all of you who truly made me the person I am today. It was all of you who were my competition, yet my backbone. In that way, we are all valedictorians.

I am now supposed to say farewell to this institution, those who maintain it, and those who stand with me and behind me, but I hope this farewell is more of a “see you later” when we are all working together to rear a pedagogic movement. But first, let’s go get those pieces of paper that tell us that we’re smart enough to do so!”