{blank} Class of 2015

After my usual 45ish hours of travel from Holland, MI to Dar es Salaam, I arrived at my new home late on a Friday afternoon. So PTM_AtticTreasures2-Doublethankful a few friends had cleaned my new place and put my bed together for me! I headed out to dinner with those friends then unpacked all weekend, shopped for essentials, slept, had a few students over Sunday night, went into the office for a few hours Monday then started work on Tuesday. The day was full of meetings with Grade 11 and 12 students discussing their final exam (Cambridge Exam) results which had just been released that day. It was also the day I realized school did not start Aug. 27, it started Aug 22! So much for time to prep for the new school year! The next week was spent either in orientation or meeting with students and the conversation was much the same, “My results are not what I expected. I should have studied more. I should have taken them more serious.”  Teachers complained about how unfocused the class of 2015 was. Nothing seemed to motivate them. This year NEEDED to be different!

So first day in Grade 12 Homeroom I read them the following:PTM_AtticTreasures8-Horz-3up

Welcome to a new school year! You are the Lazy class of 2015! (outbursts from students- What? what do you mean? who said that?! Well I guess it is kinda true). Each class has a reputation. Your class is lazy, unmotivated. Many of you were at Graduation and heard Mrs. Mwenda’s challenge to the class of 2014. If she were to step up today and give a speech about your class, do you want to be the Apathetic Class of 2015? Unmotivated Class of 2015? Lathargic? Slothful?

After sitting through your results meetings, most said, this year is going to be different. How will this year be different? Are you just going to snap your fingers and suddenly, your study skills will improve? Your prioritization will change? Your memory will work better? Regretfully, it doesn’t happen that way. It is a conscious choice to make changes that over time change a reputation. When you graduate, what will your reputation be? That is determined by each of you individually and will affect your class as a whole. Like it or not, you are now the seniors, the ones 325 other students are looking up to. YOU set the tone! Are you going to be indifferent about house competitions? Sleep through assembly? Not volunteer to do anything? Leave all the planning to one or two people in your class and MAYBE show up? You each have the potential to be someone who does something significant here at HOPAC and in your future, but that starts with your attitude right here, right now. Prov. 27:17 As iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another. We as teachers and staff are here not only to educate you, but to encourage and support you to be all who God created you to be. Sometimes that is fun and sometimes it is painful. But we aren’t the only ones here to challenge and support you. You have all been together now for at least a year. You have been through some great times and some REALLY hard times. You have gotten to know each other pretty well and will continue to develop those friendships this year- like it or not! You have the responsibility to hold each other accountable!

So how will this year look different? What reputation will your class have by the end of the year? Knowing most of you individually, I could come up with some pretty great words to describe you. You are a talented, social, welcoming, enthusiastic group of individuals. But as a class who are you?

I have been soooo surprised by their positive reaction to the challenge! Teachers are seeing aPTM_AtticTreasures6-collage difference, students are making positive changes and the overall atmosphere of the class is changing. They have a new identity! But what is this new identity?

In an attempt to find a healthy balance of school work, stress, college planning and time for play, I planned a day trip to a local island. It was intended to be a day of fun and thinking through the school year a bit. They were challenged to come up with the new identity for the new year for their class. My goal was when we left the island I could say they are the {blank} class of 2015. They each came up with some great ideas- motivated, changed, intellectual, committed, positive, family, united- but when I read one girl’s response, I had hardly finished reading before the class erupted in praise. There was no question, they wanted to be the {blank} Class of 2015, and here is why according to Cindy, “I want to leave it blank because there is no one word which can describe our class all by once. We have potential to do everything with colorful words filling in the blank.”PTM_AtticTreasures8-Horz-Collage

So yesterday we made our colorful words to fill in the blank and today I put up pictures from the trip. Seeing their comments, watching them interact with each other, being in a classroom with them twice a week, walking along side them as they figure out college stuff and life in general, I know the words we could use to fill in that blank are unlimited and I am humbled God allowed me to be in a position to challenge and witness His work in this class. I am beyond excited to see what God has planned for the {blank} class of 2015. photo-2





3 thoughts on “{blank} Class of 2015

  1. I love what you are doing and I love that you are here! The upper grade students have needed someone like you for so long and you are PERFECT for the job! Praying that many come alongside you to support your ministry…we want you hear for a long time!!!

    • Thank you Amy! I want to be here for a long time!!! It truly is a blessing to be in a place where I feel God has been using the last 15 years to prepared me for.

  2. Pingback: World-Changing Class of 2015 | Adventures in Tanzania

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