Different group of students.
It is a warm afternoon and the fans are on.
I think back to my days as a 7th grader.
My teacher's name was Mrs. Zurn.
She passed away in the mid-90's and I remember her clearly for her loud voice;
Her booming voice and I remember her because she used to make us write.
And it was always about the things that she wanted us to write about, never about the things that I CARED about like music and motorcycles and the ATV's that I spent my weekends on, flying through the cornfields and woods that I lived next door to. Or my parent's divorce and my dad moving to California and how much I missed him. We couldn't write about that stuff.
Instead we wrote about St. Thomas and our favorite lunch, and if we could be anything when we grew up what would it be, and Mother Theresa and what our favorite color was and why, and writing a letter to Pope John Paul II.
I went to a Catholic school.
You can probably tell.
Today, though. I want to talk about today, and the opportunities these kids have to write. And I know how hard writing is, and as much as I didn't like it when Mrs. Zurn made us write about the topics she chose for us to write about, the one thing it did do for us, was help us get into a habit of writing. A lot.
Which is what I hope kids find, that writing can be such a wonderful, beautiful way to express yourself if you just practice it.
And it doesn't matter what it is.
Just as long as it is something.
And it doesn't matter who it is for.
As long as it's for yourself first.
YOUR voice is the only one that matters.
You need to know that.
You need to know how important it is for us to hear your voice.
So speak up.