So let me say thank you, once again, to those who have given me the ammunition to carry forward. It is because of you, in your elementary, middle and high schools, with your rules for how kids should behave and talk and look and act and sit and walk and eat and smell and breathe, that I can walk as loudly as I like into classrooms and cafeterias and down hallways, that I can talk to kids of all creed and color and let them know that they belong, and have a place in this world, and a purpose for being here. I have learned life's rules by studying the people that I would never want to emulate. I have learned to be the teacher I am today by making sure I don't do things the way my teachers did them. I have learned to be the principal I am today by vowing never to scream at the kids who weren't walking on the correct side of the hallway, the way one principal from my past did to me and a group of kids at our elementary school. We were nine.
Thanks for giving, and for teaching me how to be the leader and mentor I am today. I still have a lot to learn, and I am still looking for a mentor myself, because I realize how cynical this all sounds. I really do understand that the way I look at things is, perhaps, not the healthiest way to look at things, but it is what I know how to do. Thank you for giving me the greatest gift I possess - that which I can give back tenfold to those who deserve it the most.