Friday, June 13, 2014

Kids These Days! (Maybe They're Not So Bad After All?)

Every day you hear another report of kids gone bad. Kids bullying others, kids stealing, lying, cheating, kids being lazy and unmotivated, kids bringing a weapon to school intent on doing harm. This is not one of those stories. This is a story about kids coming together to do some pretty amazing things.

I work at a middle school in central Florida. It’s a pretty large school with nearly 1,500 students and staff. Sure, I see kids being lazy, cheating, fighting. But I also see kids picking up garbage on the floor as they walk by just because. I see kids opening doors for others. Kids volunteer to help their classmates with math problems they don’t understand. Kids surprise their teachers by decorating their rooms with balloons and signs to let them know they’re appreciated. I see kids going out of their way to be nice to a student with autism who sometimes acts in ways they can’t understand. I see kids volunteering their time. I see kids taking a new student under their wing and introducing her around.

These kind of things go on every day, but tend to be overlooked. This year my school brought in over 3,000 food items to help the needy at Thanksgiving. They donated 1,023 toys for a Christmas toy drive, and they raised $3,000 for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I think that’s cool in and of itself, but the fact that this is coming from a school where 60% of its students are on the Free and Reduced Lunch Program, well that’s pretty darn impressive! No matter how many depressing headlines there are about kids today, remember that kids today also accomplish some really great things!

At the end of the year, we all came together in another way. We joined together as a school to film a lip dub. The entire school was involved! Our GTV teacher, Erin Elliott did an AMAZING job planning this video and putting it together. Really, she did an amazing job all year, putting together our GTV News every morning and filming more fun videos and music parodies than I can count, all while teaching 8th grade language arts as well. In fact, she’s done an incredible job every year she’s been at the school! She’s one of those teachers who honestly, truly cares about her kids and the proof is in how much her students love her.

See for yourself how Gotha Middle School’s very first lip dub turned out below. See how a diverse group of kids can come together in a fun way! What a great way to end the year! Thank you, Ms. Elliott! (Oh and she added a fun Where’s Waldo Ellen? theme too! A couple dozen kids had print-outs of Ellen DeGeneres’ face held in front of their own. See how many you can find. I spotted 8!)

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