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Stories and insights on excellent education.

How My Teachers Made Me Feel at Home

Sean Little recently delivered these remarks during the fourth-grade graduation at SA Bed-Stuy 1.

Good morning, faculty, administrators, friends, and families. Welcome to our fourth-grade graduation.  My name is Sean Little and I am a proud scholar of PC-Pepperdine, Class of 2028. It is a true honor to be speaking with you today.

When I first came to Success Academy, I was very nervous. I was scared because I didn’t know what was going on. I remember crying when I first met my teacher and thinking, “Oh No! Stranger Danger!” I also didn’t know that they had a colorful behavior chart. I was on red for the first two days of school. But you know what they say: “Third time’s a charm.” So on the third day not only was I on blue, but also I was Mr. Beyond Z. Now, I am no longer scared or nervous. It is because of the wonderful people that I’ve met here. They made me feel at home. They made me feel special. That’s what they do best at Success Academy.

Scholars, we’ve had some great times here. Success built us an awesome playground so that we could have a safe and fun space to relax. We’ve had some awesome trips to Fun Fuzion, Stratosphere Park, and the American Museum of Natural History. Even when things got tough because of testing, they tried to make it fun by having pep rallies, neon dance parties, and a carnival. But it wasn’t always playtime.

When I think about the teachers of SA Bed Stuy 1, one word comes to mind: family. There have been lots of great teacher moments. Personally, I remember playing “Heads Up, 7-Up” with Ms. Kamin on our rainy days and playing around with Ms. Hoahing, Ms. Jaganathan, and Ms. Willingham. I remember when I forgot about a dress-down day, how Ms. Caudill wrapped me in a scarf and gave me gloves to wear, so I wouldn’t feel left out.

Then I got to third grade and I said, “Oh look, my first boy teacher!” It was Mr. Ojeda. It wasn’t easy.  Most people would say he is mean. Truthfully, he has always pushed us to do our best; to always show our best effort. He knew that we could do it and accepted no excuses. Ms. Benedith was also tough, but I remember her mostly for the fun subway PBL unit. I am happy to say that I survived third grade.

Then I got the surprise of my life: I got Mr. Ojeda again!  I thought to myself, “I have another 10 months with this guy.  This will be interesting!” Then I saw who was in my class, like Jordan, Jayson, Jaiden, and Daniel and I thought, “I’m going to need my video camera. This is the year Mr. Ojeda goes off.” Then I met Ms. Sullivan, who is just a girl version of Mr. Ojeda.

Then there is Mr. Brown. Man, we had a great run!  We are grateful that you tutored us, even if it sometimes ran into our specials class.  But we know that without your help, we might not have made it here today. But it is time for the “Mr. Brown and Sean Show” to go off the air. Speaking of specials teachers: let me also say thank you to Ms. Meola, Mr. Rudensky, Ms. Mule, and Coach Z for putting up with us.

But none of this is possible without the love and support from our families. We are here today because you made the first move. You saw what Success had to offer and wanted it for us. And though we might not say it often, thank you for everything.

I know that next year will be hard (my mom and dad keep telling me so), but I am extremely excited about the opportunities that middle school will offer. We are excited for the electives, the technology, and also the chance to show you how independent we can be.

In conclusion, thank you to all my friends, teachers, and family for making my time here at SA Bed Stuy 1 amazing. And to my classmates, good luck next year!

Written by Sean Little June 16, 2016


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