All of the good that you have done this year still exists. 

This year has probably been crazy for many of you, and now as it comes to a close, the country has been hit with yet another school catastrophe. There is no combination of words that could possibly articulate our sorrow, our disgust, and our anger. All of our hearts are broken, once again.

To all of you who strive to make your schools better, bit by bit, I need you to know that even though everything seems impossibly grim, you do make a difference.

It is a mistake to think that life is all good, or all bad. In truth, life is both and everything in between. The good does not cancel out the bad, but the bad also does not cancel out the good. All of the good that you have done this year still exists. It is still real.

The time you took to listen to your students who were struggling, the work you put in to connect with your peers, the guidance you offered to parents who were facing challenges, and all the extra time you spent thinking of innovations to make your school a little bit better…all of those things still shine through. They still have value.

As we enter into the summer, please take care of yourselves. Keep your friends and family close. And hold on. Inch by inch, we can turn this around, even if it seems insurmountable, there is good in this world, and each of you prove this every day.

All of you inspire me to keep pushing, and to keep hope alive. Thank you for holding on. We can make a difference. We can turn this around. We can still find ways to make this world a little brighter. And we will.

There will be more adversity and conflict. There will be more struggle ahead. In response to this fact, I’m reminded of a passage from The Great Gatsby, which my English teacher, Mr. Adams, read out loud to my classmates and I so many years ago:

“No matter – tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…and then one fine morning –
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

Mr. Adams took the time to read that, and took the time to speak it clearly. Took the time to make sure the words weren’t just words, and made sure that in that moment we all truly understood just what it meant. Those words, as well articulated as they are, were not the point. They were a vehicle to teach me and my classmates something we couldn’t possibly yet comprehend, but would one day need to know.

I never forgot it, and it made a difference. You make a difference. Hold on.

President & CEO, TEEN TRUTH

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