First Day of School Welcome Gather

First Day of School Welcome Gather

You Make MTS, MTS

An excerpt from Andrew’s opening day Welcome Gather.

The real reason that I wore a uniform today was to introduce our theme for the 2023-24 school year, “You make MTS, MTS.” Each of you is different. You have your own thoughts, beliefs, and culture. We value and celebrate difference – diversity – at MTS and we want each of you to bring as much of yourself to our school community as you feel comfortable. In doing so, you will make MTS a richer, more vibrant school.

Right now a wise middle schooler might be thinking, “If you value difference, why do you make us all wear the same thing?” We have a uniform because we want our students to get past the brand labels of clothing to see the person and all the differences and diversity they bring to MTS. A Nike Swoosh does not make you, you. Your family’s traditions do. Wearing a uniform is a measure towards equity that enables us to better appreciate the person rather than the clothes.

So what does make you, you? It is the food you eat, the music you love, how you dance during a spontaneous family dance party, if you pray and how you pray, the religious traditions you celebrate, what you call your parents, grandparents, cousins, and close family friends. All of these are manifestations of your culture. This is what makes you, you. As you share yourself and your culture with your classmates and our school community, our school grows stronger and far more interesting. You make MTS, MTS.

As your classmates and teachers share their culture I ask that you approach differences with curiosity. When a classmate opens a lunch that looks or smells different than what you normally eat, ask “Wow, I have never had that food before. Can you tell me about it?” One memorable phrase is “Don’t yuck their yum.” Better yet, let’s try “Be fascinated by their yum.” Doing so, we will both make that person feel welcome AND we might just find new things – such as new foods – that we like. Let’s lead with curiosity.

In greeting our new Professional Community members we learned two things about each of them that we might not have ever known. Jen’s experience teaching English in Japan, Yunjin’s perfect pitch, Kassy’s love of Disney, Zahra’s close encounter with a lion, and Grace’s high-altitude balloon experience, are all ways that each person is different and makes MTS, MTS. As you head back to class, I encourage you to share who you are and listen with curiosity as your classmates and teachers share more about themselves.

Each of you makes MTS, MTS. And looking out at all of you today,  MTS 2023-2024 is off to a great start. Welcome!

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