This past Friday afternoon, the CSDA learning community came together to celebrate its own during our first student recognition assembly of the new school year.
The event started in the long hallway of our school with our 5th and 6th Graders lined up on either wall. Our school community's newest members, our Fantastic Fourth Graders, marched down the center of the hallway to the cheers, well-wishes, and 'high-fives' extended by their senior school-mates. By the time our fourth graders got to our gymnasium to begin the afternoon program, they were on cloud-9 after such a warm and enthusiastic welcome by our school's 'big kids'.
After everyone settled in for the assembly, I had the privilege of welcoming our fourth graders, and informing them of the significance of their new role as CSDA community members -- the roles, responsibilities, opportunities, and high bar of expectation and performance established by those who went before them within the walls of the Captain Samuel Douglass Academy.
Students then heard a brief speech on the role of leadership in our school and in life, on the opportunity for greatness that we can achieve at CSDA, and on the many anticipated opportunities for CSDA students in the time ahead.
A highlight of the assembly program was the introduction and unveiling of our school's newly developed mission statement. Every great institution has a strong focusing theme or statement that is at the core of the organization's beliefs and culture. It is a statement of the organization's reason for being, its purpose, its mission. After a few words about what a missions statement is and why it is important, and after a few more explaining the process of developing our school's mission statement, a couple of student volunteers unveiled a banner depicting our school mission statement: Create, Share, Dream, Achieve.
Next, I had an opportunity to describe the mission statement, and the significance of each element to our work at CSDA in the time ahead. Our students then enjoyed a short video of CSDA students explaining one theme of the mission statement, and why it is central to our work at the Captain Samuel Douglass academy. The students who participated in this production did an amazing job, especially given the complexity and novelty of the task, as well as the short time allotted to prepare their presentations. Wrapping up this part of the program, I told the kids that 'We ARE CSDA, and We WILL CSDA." -- turning our school acronym into a verb ("We WILL Create, Share, Dream, and Achieve!").
Mrs. Brockway and Mrs. Shaw then came to the front of the gymnasium to oversee the conveying of awards and recognition for students who were exemplars last month for their great citizenship in the area of 'friendship'.
Mrs. Shaw then introduced the citizenship theme for the month of October: Courage. To punctuate her message, she then read a book entitled New York's Bravest. This story focuses on the bravery and courage of a figure that was believed to have served on the New York City Fire Department at about the turn of the 20th Century. Mrs. Shaw advanced slides that depicted the pages of the book so that students could follow along as Mrs. Shaw read, and enjoy the beauty of the book's illustrations at the same time. This story connected to our community, as our students recently created a banner to recognize our local heroes on September 11th, 2014, and they hosted Brookline Firefighter, Scott Knowles, for presentations the previous day on Fire Safety & Prevention.
Our student recognition assembly then closed with some words by School Counselor, Mrs. Brockway, and a sing-along with Mr. Paul McQuilkin, who led the group in a song about friendship.
It was a splendid afternoon at CSDA, featuring our wonderful students and the community that we have created at the Captain Samuel Douglass Academy. I can't imagine a better way to close another wonderful week at CSDA!