Excited, Capable Learners and Confident People: In Their Own Words
Excerpts from our Valedictorian Speeches:
Good evening, teachers, parents, and students. I am honored to be able to come up here and speak to everyone about my exciting experience at LePort. I feel good coming back, and am glad to be welcomed back into the community as if I were never gone.
It is odd stepping into a new environment, and I have had to do just that several times within the last few years, the first being my move to America (probably the biggest change of all). Another major step was entering high school. In between those events came my two years at LePort, a place that felt to me to be more than just another school: it seemed to be a community.
Before we moved from Singapore to California, I had heard of Sage Hill and thought that I might like to go there in the future. The question was: where would I go NOW, for seventh grade? I hadn’t heard of LePort, but from the first moment that I visited (and was interviewed by Mr. Girn) I wanted to be here. Not only did it end up being the best school experience I’ve ever had, but it also equipped me to get into Sage Hill, and gave me the chance to represent LePort there. I am determined to make all my wonderful teachers from LePort proud.
I believe that LePort prepared me to do so by giving me the tools to learn new concepts. I am also thankful that at LePort I was challenged with some pretty advanced reading with books such as Frankenstein and Anthem, because being exposed to that reading level helps me cope now. Reading comprehension skills and annotation that I further developed at LePort help me at Sage, as there is much to be read and understood, and we need to be able to grasp all the challenging readings that are thrown at us. Thankfully, with LePort’s help, that is something I am not struggling with.
At Sage, as the Math class progresses, I am encountering some concepts we previously covered at LePort, balanced out by new concepts: honestly, I just wish that Mrs. Fisher was still teaching me!
Overall, what I miss most about LePort, beside the curriculum that I really enjoyed, are the people. I miss the teachers and their welcoming smiles, and the closeness between us all, and how it was almost like a family. LePort was like my home away from home, and I felt comfortable. I am hoping that that’s what Sage becomes to me. Though I know it will take a while, and I must be patient, I see an enjoyable journey ahead, hopefully similar to that of the one I experienced at LePort.
To the 8th Graders, my advice to you is to enjoy every moment that you are here, knowing that LePort is a special place that is giving you the tools you need to do anything you want to do in the future. Be yourself, and you will make friends who will love you for who you are. Even though I have only been at Sage for two months or so, I already feel that I am making friends for life. It still surprises me that I have only been there for two months: I feel like it has been much longer. I’m learning so many new things every day, and without LePort, I would not have been able to enjoy this journey as much as I am now. With that, I feel that the greatest gift to you I can give, is my thanks.
Natascha King of 2009/10
Knowledge is a gift to those who are willing to accept it. The ones who do are fulfilled, successful, and question even the simplest of facts. They learn by teaching, and live to learn. This is the philosophy on which LePort Schools proudly builds its foundation, a philosophy in which I believe whole-heartedly. I know that every student who walks through their classroom doors in the morning is going to learn something new and exciting simply because they are there.
This is largely a product of the wonderful and bright teachers working at this school. I have watched them plan their lessons and let me tell you, they slave away at trying to make them as individual and interesting as possible. I live just right around the corner from here so on the way out of my neighborhood, I see the school. Even late at night, the lights are on and I can see them working inside. The students here might not appreciate that this school is so special. I know that it was hard for me to understand that the teachers here are unique when they are distributing large helpings of homework. But now that I have seen some other teachers, I understand that what these do is not average, but extraordinary.
Mr. Peltz for example is the best science teacher that I will ever have. He is so enthusiastic that he has to be careful not to knock over specimen jars while he is prancing around the classroom explaining how the sun moves or how to make saltpeter. A simple grasshopper will send him skipping down to the office. Believe me… I’ve seen it happen. All of our teachers were excited about their particular subjects; I’ve watched them drool over pi, fall in love with literary heroes, and romanticize for hours about the renaissance. They have sent me to high school with a devout and passionate love for learning.
As many of you know, I am a student at Sage Hill School. I was expecting it to be a devastatingly difficult experience, but in actuality, LePort has prepared me for every aspect. I walked into that first day organized and confident, most of my friends come to me for homework help on difficult problems. My new teachers could never reach the level of those sitting before me, but they come dangerously close. My favorite class at the moment is English; my teacher was blown away by how much I read. I told her that at my old school, we actually set aside a time for reading and I haven’t stopped since. This may come as a shock to my classmates, but before I came to LePort, I hated to read. This changed however, when Mrs. Journo started using me as a test subject for choosing books to read in class. But I actually started reading as a hobby when Ms. Schnellbacher came and got all watery-eyed over Shakespeare, and Cyrano, not Cierno, de Bergerac.
At Sage, there is of course much more work to be done, but I believe that I am doing quite well with completing it. I still use the LePort method of organization and have converted many of my friends who agree that it is the best way to go. In that sense, I am way ahead of my friends. I don’t know how they manage it, but some of the kids’ books look like they have been trampled by a heard of elephants on the first day …
As a new freshmen, I believe that it is necessary for me to share some advice to the students who are going into high school. I suspect that most of you are terrified at the prospect of leaving the warm and comfortable bubble of LePort; don’t be! Be proud of who you are and what you are becoming. If you are simply confident in yourself and enjoy the company you are given, the rest will take care of itself. As far as the schoolwork goes, I tend to believe Jacob Bronowski when he said, “It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin, barefoot irreverence to their studies; they are not here to worship what is known, but to question it.” If you question nothing and simply sit through boring lectures, you learn nothing. Question everything and you will learn more than you could possibly imagine.
I cannot help but miss this school of course. LePort has given me something that I could not rid myself of even if I wanted to: a passion for and comfort in the world of knowledge. It was, is, and will always be my beginning.”
All my experiences with the teachers and classes at LePort helped prepare me for my future years at Cornelia Connelly School. I am confident in the skills acquired here at LePort, and those skills learned here are making high school manageable. I learned how to manage my time efficiently in doing homework and projects and now I have it totally under control. My transition from LePort to Connelly was very smooth; thanks to the preparation the teachers here gave me.
LePort was not always about academics, we had fun too. My favorite field trip was to the Huntington Library in Pasadena. The artwork was absolutely wonderful! Walking through the gardens was like walking through many different countries and cultures. The spirit days were also a lot of fun. My favorite was the Blue and Green Day, because there were many activities in which everybody could participate, not to mention, my team won.
Ralph Vaull Starr said, “Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.”
Well, I did reach high, and continue to do so. I dreamt deep and will continue to do so. I’ve learned you can be anything you want to be, do anything you want to do, as long as you put your mind to it, work hard, and keep your focus. My hope for all of you is that you too, continue to reach for the stars and dream deep.
Heather T., Class of 2007/08
When I started looking at high schools, I had a bit of a problem. See, the school that I presently attended was so great that I couldn’t be content with just any old school. I was determined to find one with the same high quality of standards, teaching, and sense of community as LePort had. It took me awhile, but eventually I found one that I thought would live up to my high standards: Sage Hill High School. So I marched through the lengthy application process, and was at last accepted as I had hoped I would be.
One last thing I’d like to advise, not just to the pre-high schoolers, but to all the grades, is to appreciate every second of your time at LePort. There is no other school like it, and in my opinion, no school anywhere near as wonderful. Once you’re done here, you can’t come back, you can only go forward. You are, at this moment, in one of the very best schools in California, under the very best teachers I have ever had the privilege to come across. Take advantage of it. This school is completely unique. I only had the opportunity to spend one year here, and that’s something I’ll always regret. Just by being here, you have the opportunity to do all sorts of things, learn all sorts of things that you can’t do or learn anywhere else. Enjoy it. Cherish it. Use it.