Graduation season is here again!

I'd like to dedicate today's "Wellness Wednesday" post to all the dreamers out there.  Especially high school seniors, who tend to have big dreams and optimistic attitudes.  Y'all are great!

Especially my seniors from this year's graduating class: Audrey, Bridget, Isaandra and Sarah.

Here was my dream from high school.  Please excuse the typos and the fact that I couldn't spell my own name correctly! This was written for my high school paper in 2004, clearly with Windows '98 or something.  LOL!

Even though I'm many years older and wiser, I thankfully still feel like I'm the same 18 year old kid with the same energy and spark to pursue my dream.  My dream to establish a permanent space for Youth Dance Alliance to bring arts education to young people is alive and well.  I'd LOVE your support! Find out more here.

This week has me thinking about graduations, and what to say to young people at this pivotal time in their lives.  Back in my first year of teaching, here's what I had to offer my students:

I think my message to students is still the same, because young people are the best!! They are excited and fired up to make positive change in the world. They raise money for causes left and right, volunteer many hours of free time to improve their communities and promote awareness and understanding of important issues.  I hope to encourage them to pursue their dreams, and trust in their gifts and abilities to give back to others.    

I am fortunate with work with some of the brightest, most sophisticated and savvy young people I've ever come across.  Every day I am inspired by their compassion, generosity and thoughtfulness. 

Media reports complaining about "them young people" drive me INSANE.  

Young people are the most promising part of our futures.  They are the hope and faith we need to continue to evolve and improve the human experience.  Investing in the education and well being of young people allows our communities to thrive and be enjoyable places to live.  

I am reminded of the honor and responsibility I have, to be a great teacher when I think about all of the young people I have interacted with, equating to about 200 children each year.  I love looking at old photos, letters and videos of my students from the past few years.  I am lucky I can keep in touch with them now, with the help of technology.  I also love keeping in touch with my old teachers.  They will forever be a source of inspiration and support to me. 

In fact, I hope to be as loved as dear Mrs. Kopman in the future.  This wonderful woman called everyone "bubbie", told us to stop "yenta-ering" and get back to class, happily and heartedly led square dancing lessons for [awkward] teens in HS PE, and had her office walls decorated with over 40 years of photo collages of students.  She and her husband are now in their 80s and still go dancing every week!  I LOVE THEM!     

This year marks my eighth year of coaching, my sixth year of teaching K-12 health and physical education, and my fourth year teaching in Shanghai.  Many things have changed since I first began, but a few things remain the same.  I love learning, I love my students and I love teaching!

A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step!  Even if you are not graduating from a school this season, think about the steps you'd like to take to improve your wellness; specifically your intellectual and occupational health domains.  I'm here to help you achieve your goals!  Please don't hesitate to ask for advice!

To new journeys ahead! 

Here are some graduations of mine, throughout the years.  We all started with the same step, but the journeys have been different!

Angel now teaches PE in Hoboken, Mark is now a school counselor and Sean is teaching PE in south NJ.
Alan teaches elementary PE and Jillian is married with two cute little boys.
Jillian and I with Lauren, who teaches PE in Bloomfield and Dr. Saavedra, the man who required us to jump rope for 10 minutes straight without stopping, in order to pass his class (with no music playing, I might add!). 
Billy is now a fire fighter in West Orange, NJ.
Nicole is now married with an adorable son and Caleb is teaching PE in south NJ.
Anybody from MSU know if Chris and Jessica are teaching?
With the wonderful Miss Mitchell.  I missed her a lot this year!  She's now teaching in Frankfurt.
Proud to report that my former HS students are now all dancing and/or cheering in college!
Dr. K, forever in our hearts!
Right after receiving my Masters degree, I was all smiles, from ear to ear!
It was such a happy day!
I was really proud to have completed my goal!
My rock and my number one fan.  Also the man I hope to be dancing with in my 80s!

Enjoy the rest of your week!

<3 paz. amor. felicidad siempre

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