A Note to the Class of 2019: Some Advice As You Begin Your Next Educational Journey

Dear Class of 2019,

Congratulations, you did it! You made it through thirteen years of education. From your awkward middle school years to all the standardized testing, projects, and exams, to applying to colleges, you should be so proud of yourself and everything that you have accomplished. As you look back on your high school years, there are so many things to celebrate. Take a moment to reflect on your growth both academic and personal. You all have come so far. As your teacher, I am extremely proud and honored to have been with you for part of your educational journey.

It definitely wasn’t always a smooth road, there were bumps, detours and road closures. But, that’s life. I hope you have learned that despite all of the adversity you have faced, there is a fight worth fighting and that you are strong, resilient and determined. In our current state of society, there are so many things to be fighting for. Whether it be immigrant rights, women’s rights, or climate change, stick up for what you believe in. You are the future of this country and although you haven’t caused all of these problems, they still become your problems, and you have the power to make change.

I hope that you leave high school with many life experiences and lessons. You’ve had many teachers throughout your thirteen years of education. Classroom teachers, school staff and administrators, family and friends have all played a role in shaping your world views. I hope you all have taken these lessons, advice, and knowledge to help shape your own.

Before you go and I am no longer your official teacher, let me leave you with some pieces of advice as you embark on your next journey.

1.     Stay true to yourself. You never have to pretend to be someone who you are not. Know what you believe in, and stand up for it. People will appreciate that you are 100% real rather than a fake just trying to fit in.

2.     Don’t be afraid to fail. Everyone fails, that is part of life. The only true way to grow is to fail. But when you do fail, because that is inevitable, make sure you get back up. The important thing is not that you failed or made a mistake it is what you do afterwards that matters.

3.     Ask for help. It is okay to not be okay. If you need help, ask for it. You have your professors, teaching assistants, friends, your school’s health center all there as a resource. Most importantly don’t forget the people you left back at home, your family, friends, and former teachers are all there for you. Believe me when I say that I am always here for you—just a phone call or email away.

4.     Never stop learning. Education is something that no one can take away from you. Find what your interests are and what you are passionate about and pursue it, whether that be a major in college or a skill in trade school, keep learning.

5.     Make new friends and try something new. Your next educational journey is all about meeting new people and trying new things. Break out of your comfort zone and join a club or introduce yourself to someone new. You never know what could become your passion or who could become your future best friend. Like the nursery rhyme says, “make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.”

Class of 2019, be strong, determined, and resilient. I will always be rooting for you! Congratulations and best of luck!

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Chelsea Culbert

Chelsea Culbert

Chelsea Culbert is a proud product of New York public schools where she graduated with her International Baccalaureate diploma. She went off to attain her B.A. in Chemistry with concentrations in Public Health and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Studies at NYU. While at NYU, she started the chapter of “Strive for College,” a non-profit organization that connects college students as mentors to assist high schoolers throughout the college application and financial aid processes. Immediately after graduation, Chelsea pursued her teaching career with Teach for America Los Angeles. While teaching, Chelsea completed her Master’s degree in Urban Education at Loyola Marymount University. Chelsea is currently teaching at her Teach for America placement school in Lincoln Heights where she serves as Department Instructional Lead, Instructional Leadership Team member, and coaches Varsity soccer.

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