By: Dr. Nicole Westwood-Robinette
Hope. Hope is what we have. Hope is what we preach. Hope is what we teach our students. Hope, in the fact that our days get better, our weeks improve, and that the school year ends successfully for our students. Our Laurel Life students often come to us at times in their lives where hope is sometimes non-existent, where it is such an abstract concept that it could be impossible to imagine that things or life could get better. However, we as Laurel Life staff and administrators are purveyors of hope. We work with our students to see hope as something that is attainable minute by minute, day to day. Our student’s educational journey begins with one step- hope, and Laurel Life doesn’t sell hope on empty promises. We, as staff- role model, teach, struggle together, problem solve, and learn together that hope is attainable through determination, hard work, and those ups and downs. Our staff acknowledge and respect that while the yesterdays of our students may be less than ideal, it does not mean that their tomorrows can’t be better. Here in lies hope. Our work is not easy. Sometimes our days are long and our weeks seem even longer, but despite times of struggle we see beacons of light. Here in lies hope. Hope that our students believe in us as much as we believe in them, hope that despite long days/weeks we do, in fact, see student progress (small or greater gains,) and hope that our students see it is possible to struggle and not give up. The human connection and bonds we build with our students shows them that when people work together, acknowledge times of struggle, and persevere- it is hope. Our work is hard and while our yesterdays may be less than ideal, we know our tomorrows will be better. Here in lies hope. With the end of the school year, it is time to recharge your body, mind, heart, and soul. Here in lies hope. Hope that we, as Laurel Life staff, take the time to care for ourselves, to reflect on the positives of the year, and to plan for the next school year. Hope is renewable, it is rechargeable, and it is intentional. Renew your vows to care for yourself as much as you have cared for your students. Read the book you have been putting off, binge watch the shows you have missed, play with your children. Recharge your batteries, because you deserve it. Here in lies hope. Hope that we come back next school year with a renewed sense of purpose, a clear plan to help our students, and to be team players with integrity, strength, and most importantly-hope. George Washington Carver once said, “where there is no vision, there is no hope,” however, we as Laurel Life staff must take pride in our clear vision that while our staff help inspire student growth, we are also promoting hope. Hope that we empower positive change to help ease adversity, hope that we can be agents of positive change, and hope that we can make a difference in the lives and communities that we serve. Here in lies hope.