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Superintendent Pens Letter to Class of 2023

Dear Bossier Parish Class of 2023,

Congratulations! You have come a long way from kindergartener to high school graduate and now alumnus of Bossier Parish Schools. We are so proud of you. 

Looking back 13 years, most of you probably do not remember showing up for that very first day of school. Chances are you were nervous, but also excited. It was the fear and anticipation of the unknown. There were new rules to follow; letters, numbers and shapes to learn; and friends to make. But there were also life lessons being taught; ones that would chart your course – and still will – if followed.

In the late 1980s, long before any of you were born, a popular book by author Robert Fulghum was published, entitled All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. It quickly became a New York Times bestseller, packing lots of witty stories along with wise words about life. The top five things Fulghum recounted that he learned in kindergarten: 

  1. Share everything.

  2. Play fair.

  3. Don’t hit people.

  4. Put things back where you found them.

  5. Clean up your own mess. 

All good advice. Yet there is another life lesson I would like to add that is at the root of that top five list; be kind. It sounds simple – perhaps even trite – but the community, state and nation we live in today could certainly benefit from kindness, with added measures of humility and empathy toward others. And it starts with you.  

Recently, every second grader in the parish took a field trip to Bossier Schools’ i3 Art Expo, where theater students (perhaps some of you) in the Talented Arts Program performed a play based on an adaptation of the children’s book The Cool Bean. The play was about one uncool “has bean” trying to do everything he could to fit in with the “cool beans,” but he learned that sometimes comes at a cost. The moral of the story? It’s much cooler to be kind. 

As adults, we often lose sight of that important lesson. Social media has allowed us to become keyboard warriors, tearing down and attacking each other because of differing political and personal beliefs. Imagine how much better off we would all be if, instead, we respect that everyone has the right to their own opinions and that we can agree to disagree. It is called civility. 

Graduates, no matter where your next journey takes you, my charge to you is to simply be kind. Always look beyond yourself and live a purposeful life with a servant’s heart. Grab the wheel and steer us all toward a better place. Tomorrow is now in your hands.

Mitch Downey

Bossier Schools Superintendent