Gene Johnson’s Address at the 4th Grade Moving Up Ceremony
(Thursday, June 9th, 2016)
Good morning, everyone.
This is a big day for you and your classmates.
Your parents and teachers are very proud of you. They should be. You are accomplished artists, musicians and authors and wonderful role models for the younger students in school.
I heard that you ask a lot of good questions and like to solve problems…and that you solve problems in unique ways.
Both are very important.
Because, the more questions you ask, the more you will learn…and because the world needs some new answers from some big problems…like how to make sure children everywhere get the healthy, nutritious food they need every day.
All you’ve learned in the Edible Schoolyard could come in handy on that one.
You helped feed a lot of children in Racine…and made a difference in their lives.
Just imagine if every school had a giving garden and a class with sharp minds and big hearts like yours.
Now, let’s talk about what moving up means for you.
Well, it means you’ve studied hard and worked hard from kindergarten through 4th grade. That’s good.
You’ve made the grade and been exemplary leaders of the Primary School. Even better.
And, now, you’re ready to move up so you can have even more fun experiences learning new things.
I just love learning. You know what makes it fun for me? You can do it anywhere, anytime, anyplace – everyday, there’s something new and interesting you can learn about all around you.
Take birds. There are thousands of different kinds of birds all over the world.
Sometimes I watch birds from my backyard, and other times I take special trips to faraway places hoping to get a glimpse or two of a unique bird that lives there.
Birds aren’t like dogs – you can’t call them and expect them to come right away. You have to wait for them to show up – sometimes you have to wait all day long before they show their feathers.
And, there are other birds that only come out at night, like owls.
Owls have big, beautiful eyes. But, guess what? Their eyes can’t move side-to-side or up-and-down. They just stare straight ahead. I think that’s why people think they’re kind of spooky.
Other animals would be at a real disadvantage if they couldn’t move their eyes. But not owls.
They were born with a neck that turns their whole head almost completely around so they can see what’s behind them… and turns upside down so they can see what’s above them. They are the only animals in the world that can do that.
I think owls make the most of what they were born with. Maybe that’s why we call them wise old owls.
Each of you was born with something even better than the owl’s neck – you were born with a mind that can learn and think. And, the more knowledge and information and experiences you have, the stronger your mind becomes.
So, be like the wise old owl.
Make the most of the mind you were born with. Learn new things, try new things every single day. If you do, then you’ll be smarter and wiser than any old owl.
I hope you have lots of fun times with your family and friends this summer.
Remember to read some good books and get plenty of rest and go bird watching.
Come back to us in the fall rested and ready to be the best fifth graders you can be.
See you next year!