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Posted February 24, 2017

Dreams

In her weekly message to employees, Supt. Reedy talks about the dream wall at Kennedy MS and how it applies to all APS students.

At Kennedy Middle School, students are sharing their dreams on a wall near the school’s entrance in celebration of Black History Month.

"We know that Martin Luther King had a dream. Now, we want to know what the students of Kennedy dream about," said Vivian Sanchez-Valencia, the school's family liaison who spearheaded the project. "No dream is too big or too small.” She’s not kidding. The dreams floating in white thought bubbles along a bright orange backdrop range from getting good grades to ruling the world. But the vast majority of these students dream of living happy, successful lives.

She’s not kidding. The dreams floating in white thought bubbles along a bright orange backdrop range from getting good grades to ruling the world. But the vast majority of these students dream of living happy, successful lives. That shouldn’t surprise us, though it might serve as a reminder of what public education is all about: providing the next generation with the tools they need to help make their dreams become realities.

That shouldn’t surprise us, though it might serve as a reminder of what public education is all about: providing the next generation with the tools they need to help make their dreams become realities.A lot of the students at Kennedy, like a lot of the children across APS, have aspirations of successful careers, hoping one day to be everything from actors and engineers to athletes and doctors.

A lot of the students at Kennedy, like a lot of the children across APS, have aspirations of successful careers, hoping one day to be everything from actors and engineers to athletes and doctors.

“I have a dream to be a model and a dance teacher and a mom,” wrote one young lady.

“I have a dream that someday I will be a famous writer,” wrote another. Or football player, FBI agent, mechanic, veterinarian, lawyer, soldier, teacher.

Many of the students recognize that in order to fulfill their job aspirations, they have to do well in school, graduate and continue their education.

“I have a dream to go to college, finish college, get a good job and have a nice life,” wrote one student.

Hear, hear. I also have that dream for this young person as I do for students across APS.

Though I wasn’t surprised by most of the dreams shared by these sixth, seventh and eighth graders, what some wrote truly touched my heart. So many of the students wish selflessly for less hate and division in the world, more peace and love. They wish for an end to homelessness, hunger, violence, racism.

“I have a dream that people will be more positive and helpful toward poor people,” wrote one of the students whose school serves a mostly low-income population.

Principal Ed Bortot says many of Kennedy’s students live in difficult situations, in motels along Central Avenue or in crowded apartments with other families who often move around and struggle to make ends meet.

To support these students, Bortot and staff wear lots of hats: educator, champion, advocate, even co-parent. “Not only do we need to fill their academic needs, but we fill gaps for essential needs, too,” he said. "You have to say, 'I have your back. Even if you make a mistake, I have your back.'"

Sound familiar? So many of you are playing similar roles at your school or in your department in support of our students.  And you – like the staff at Kennedy, like me – want the same things for students.  

As one Kennedy youngster summed up: “I have a dream to be successful, go to college, become the best I can be, make the world better and have equal rights and have a lot of fun and have everything.”

Yep.

Reading these simple statements that convey such big ideas helps keep our jobs in perspective. It’s easy to get lost in the politics, legislation, budgets and policies that often dominate public education But helping students reach their dreams is really what it's all about. Wouldn’t you agree?

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