On the cover of Monterey Hills Elementary School’s promotion program reads: “6th grade here we come!!!”
A student, Kaitlyn, – her name handwritten in the corner of the program –drew the picture and obviously is looking forward to her next step in education.
She and most of the fifth graders that took part in Monterey Hills’ promotion this week are headed off to the local middle school where more classroom challenges will be met over the next three years.
The class departed following an hour-long sendoff in the school’s courtyard as principal, Dr. Laurie Narro showered the students with praise during her message. “Monterey Hills Class of 2019 congratulations on your promotion!” she said, speaking into a microphone in front of a large gathering of parents, grandparents, friends, Board of Education members and school district personnel.
“You are amazing! So much so, that you have helped us garner a number of awards including the Gold Ribbon and the California Distinguished School Award. This year, we were honored to be invited to write the application for the National Blue Ribbon Award.”
Earning the lofty honor required Narro to describe the school she oversees. She shared part of her narrative about Monterey Hills Elementary with audience members saying: “The 5th grade teacher finished a lesson utilizing text sets to demonstrate multiple perspectives in the study of United States history. As the teacher brought the lesson to a close, she asked: ‘Why is your analysis important?’ Chimed a student, “We are going to grow up and make decision to change the world.”
Narro told to the 5th graders seated in front of her, “You are primed to do this. Along with the academic skills, practices of mind, and the ability to write an argument, MHS teachers worked hard to build you as the future citizens who will make thoughtful and kind decisions to change the world.”
She stressed they have accomplished so much in and outside the classroom. “As kindergarteners and throughout your years at MSH you have helped to raise pennies for patients with funds going to support research to end leukemia,” Narro said. “As a group of third graders you organized and showed your generosity by donating their Halloween candy and writing letters of thanks to men and women in service to our country. As fourth graders you sold minerals and raffle tickets to help Hurricane Harvey relief, collected diapers for families in need and sold emergency backpacks with proceeds to aid victims of Mexico’s earthquake and Puerto Rico’s hurricane.”
It didn’t stop there. “This year,” she continued, “you have accomplished the work around your individual, partner and class Power of One projects – determining a need in our immediate and larger community, proposing a plan of action, accomplishing over 1,200 hours of service as ecologists at Arroyo Seco and the LA river project, and showed compassion through their work at the Ronald McDonald House, retirement centers and at the Pasadena Humane Center.
The program featured a performance by the 5th grade band, class memories by students, a congratulatory message by Monterey Hills’ PTA President Judy Woo and a variety of songs, among them “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong and “Swagnificient” by Blaze N Vill. Proudly watching it all were fifth grade teachers Ron Millar, Gina Tolleson and Kristy King, seated in the front row, admiring their student’s work over the past year.
“We are definitely are proud of you,” said Narro at the conclusion of her remarks. “But celebrate today. I do have two homework assignments for you. Don’t worry, this homework is in keeping with your thoughtfulness and kindness. First, before Wednesday [the last day of school], I want you to find a staff member who encouraged your thoughtfulness, creativity and believed in you. Offer them thanks and let them know how much you appreciated their support. The second bit of homework is for today – thank your parents. Remember they are your first teachers. The encouraged you throughout your time at MHS to be yourself and do your best. They are the biggest fans and love you very much. Make sure you thank them for this support.”
Narro closed echoing words sung in the performance, wishing the 5th grader well as they move on to higher education.
“May you have confidence to always do your best,” she said. “May you take no effort in your being generous, sharing what you can, nothing more nothing less, and may you know the meaning of the word of happiness.”
And flashing a smile, she concluded: “We love you class of 2019!”