Far Out Friday: Graduating students share words of wisdom

by Robert Ballantyne22 May 2015

Each year, Jess Burnquist, creative writing teacher at Arizona High School, asks her students to assess what they learned, their biggest regrets and their hopes and fears for their future.

In the portfolio project – called the senior scrapbook – students were asked to make various reflections, including: ‘how has school impacted you?’, ‘what has high school taught you?’, ‘what are your dreams and aspirations?’ and ‘what are your regrets and your fears?’

Their responses, Burnquist said, are usually deep and thoughtful – but are also very, very funny.

Consider a couple of responses to the all-important question “What Have I Learned in High School?”

“Glee and High School Musical aren’t real. No one ever bursts into song in the cafeteria. But we should,” wrote one student.

“Never touch underneath a desk – ever – People are disgusting,” wrote another.

Other students were more reflective. Among the responses were words of wisdom like: “You don’t need lots of friends – 4 quarters are better than 100 pennies,” and “Leadership comes with a price. Doing the right thing isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.”

Burnquist told the Washington Post that she became a teacher “to try and reach students like the one she once was – gifted, plagued by doubt and dealing with her parents’ divorce.”

“How would you respond to the question, ‘What Have I Learned in High School?’ A confession - I wasn’t a great high school student,” Burnquist wrote.

“In any case, I would be tempted to answer that question with a lot of sass. Some of my students did just that,” Burnquist wrote, sharing what one student wrote as her ‘immediate goal’.

“To be with Benedict Cumberbatch – In the biblical sense.”

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