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Signing Yearbooks


I take signing kids’ yearbooks seriously.  I have spent 186 days with them, they will get more than “Good luck in high school!”  I won’t say 100% of the time, but close to it they will get an individually crafted message that reflects on where they were, where they are, and where they will go (obviously I am implying more than just a physical location, but a state of being, their heart, spirit, drive, and passion).  Many times I am bold and tell them what they will do (be a teacher, how they can make a difference, here is how you will change the world…), and other times I might just leave them with questions.  Each is a short story, that like a good assessment, doesn’t end the year, but starts them on a new beginning.  Often times I am told the next day, “Mr. Bogush, I only cried once all year, and that was when I went home and read what you wrote in my yearbook.”  Honestly, I am not a very emotional mushy sorta person during the year, I can be…ummm…quite a hard driver.   So maybe that is why I do what I do in the yearbooks.

For about the half the books I sign, I usually base the story around a quote, which I almost never use twice.  Below I have included some of the quotes I used this year. As I look through them now, some will not seem to be that valuable, but each is aimed at a specific kid.  Each was picked with a certain kid in mind, my “story” helps explain the quote to them, and in the context of that specific kid’s year, it makes a lot of sense.  I know that some are above their heads, and that is ok…it is not uncommon for me to get an email from someone in high school saying “I finally get that quote you wrote in my yearbook.”

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”
George Eliot

When nothing seems to help…
I go and look at the stonecutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it.  Yet, at the hundred and first blow, it will split in two, and I know it was not that last blow that did it, but all that has gone before.
Jacob Riis

If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall
–Confucius

Worry not that no one knows of you; seek to be worth knowing.
–Confucius

Do not fail
To learn from
The pure voice of an
Ever-flowing mountain stream
Splashing over the rocks.
Morihei Ueshiba

” Remember, if you ever need a helping hand,
you’ll find one at the end of your arm.
As you grow older you will discover that you have two hands.
One for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”

“Draw a crazy picture,
Write a nutty poem,
Sing a mumble-gumble song,
Whistle through your comb.
Do a loony-goony dance
‘Cross the kitchen floor,
Put something silly in the world
That ain’t been there before.”
-Shel Silverstein

The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn.”
-David Russell

“You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because thorns have roses.”
-Ziggy

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
-Confucius

Fear less, hope more;
Whine less, breathe more;
Talk less, say more;
Hate less, love more;
And all good things are yours.”
-Swedish Proverb

If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin’.

High school is a lot like toilet paper, you only miss it when its gone.
– Kate Kulikova

Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.
Anthony J. D’Angelo, The College Blue Book

Be who you are
and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter,
and those who matter
don’t mind.
— Dr. Seuss

“They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
Carl W. Buechner

There is no need to reach high for the stars. They are already within you – just reach deep into yourself!

Do or do not.
There is no try.”
Yoda

Success
“To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty,
To find the best in others,
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.
George Herman “Babe” Ruth

Be who you are
and say what you feel,
because those who mind don’t matter,
and those who matter don’t mind.
Dr. Seuss

When the world says, “Give up,”
Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.”
~Author Unknown

Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.
Erich Fromm

You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star.
Freidrick Nietzsche

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall –Confucius

Worry not that no one knows of you; seek to be worth knowing.
–Confucius

All men who have achieved great things have been great dreamers.”
-Orison Swett Marden

The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.
— Ralph Nichols

When you talk, you repeat what you already know; when you listen, you often learn something.
— Jared Sparks

We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.
~Epictetus

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.
~Winston Churchill

If you don’t get lost, there’s a chance you may never be found.
~Author Unknown

If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.
~Abraham Maslow

You have two ends – one to sit on and one to think with. Success depends on which one you use. Head you win, tail you lose.

You should listen to your heart, and not the voices in your head.
Marge Simpson

You were born an original. Don’t die a copy.
~John Mason

We cannot direct the wind but we can adjust the sails.

There are two types of people – those who come into a room and say, “Well, here I am!” and those who come in and say, “Ah, there you are.”
~Frederick L. Collins

“It’s snowing still,” said Eeyore gloomily. “So it is.” “And freezing.” “Is it?” “Yes,” said Eeyore. “However,” he said, brightening up a little, “we haven’t had an earthquake lately.”
~A.A. Milne

6 comments

  1. These were great quotes. I couldn’t wait to share your post with others. In fact, there are days when I even need to hear these quotes. I think posting them in your student yearbooks is a great way to live on in their lives. 🙂

  2. Dear Paul,

    These quotes are wonderful. Many I have forgotten about. I’m sure I’ve read a book by John Mason that included “You were born an original. Don’t die a copy.” I completely forgot about that one.

    I love this sort of thinking. I suspect it runs throughout your teaching, even if you don’t verbalize it in this way.

    This year, for the first time, I’m planning to use “How To Win Friends and Influence People” in a class, because they have updated it for the digital age. Carnegie’s classic now includes insights into using e-mail and twitter.

    My students don’t have yearbooks. I need to find a way to communicate messages like these when they graduate. I thought about e-mails, but don’t like that idea. Maybe I’ll start doing graduation cards at commencement for each of them. I’m not sure if any other faculty does something like that at our school. Anyway, this is a great idea. Thanks for sharing it!

  3. Love these ideas. I try to write something about the student, but love the idea of leaving them with a quote or a question!

  4. Thanks for sharing the quotes! I’m sure your students really appreciate your thoughtful wishes for them in their year books!

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