Sunday, January 18, 2015

You Can Make It!


 "If you can take it, you can make it." Pete Zamperini, Unbroken

        Recently, thanks to a grant, students and staff at my school took in the movie Unbroken and did activities on resiliency.
        One activity in particular was quite revealing. Students were to write letters to a middle school stud ent relaying to the younger teen the importance of not quitting on school but staying true to the end. The high school students imparted the wisdom they had gathered on their life journey and in a much more transparent manner than expected, imparted their advice to their middle school counterparts. My students repeated advice given to Louie from his brother, words that stayed with him. “If you can take it, you can make it.”
        Some of the letters amazed me what my students faced regularly.  Facts I hadn’t known about them were revealed in these letters, helping me to understand my students better. My heart twisted reading some of the stories. No young person should have to go through what some of these have endured. Yet these teens persisted. They refused to quit, even though some people told these resilient souls they’d never make it.
        The next step in this Unbroken activity will be for some of our students to talk to eighth graders and share a little bit about themselves.  This is a win-win for both groups of students. The middle school students will hear a message of resiliency from an age group they look up to and respect and the students from my school will gain strength from sharing their story and the realities they’ve learned along the way.
        I’m proud of my students. Life isn’t fair, I tell my students, but how they deal with the unfair situations shows their character. Character is formed through making choices, and the choices they make reveal their resiliency.
        Honestly? This collection of young people who make up my classes don’t always show good judgment in what they choose. But in the end,  they don’t quit on themselves or on school.
        They know if they can take it, they can make it.

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