Monday, May 25, 2015

Seeing Greatness

My first class of students graduated Friday night.  Last week I attended the awards ceremony and listened carefully as names of my former students were called to be recognized as outstanding students, scholarship recipients, and special award winners.  Every class has students who excel in the classroom.  There are also students who achieve greatness, but in ways which many people do not pay much attention to this time of year.  Sitting in the auditorium Friday night made me realize that greatness is not the awards and scholarships or what many people perceive, but greatness is how they see themselves.

I watched a special needs student accept his diploma.  He is fighting a much bigger battle than his cognitive disability.  He is fighting for his life while sadly losing a battle with cancer.  I hope he sees his greatness.

I watched a young soon-to-be mother cradle her stomach as she smiled for her picture.  She went through a terrible tragedy her junior year, but she finished school and made getting an education a priority for her and her unborn child.  I hope she sees her greatness.

I watched a young man raise his hands in the air in celebration.  He chose a wrong path - a path of drugs and alcohol which ultimately cost him a relationship with his family.  I hope he sees his greatness.

None of these students were at the top of their class.  But they achieved a greatness of their own.  And that greatness deserves to be recognized too.  I congratulate all of my former students and leave them with this:

"Greatness lies not in what people perceive, 
but in what you, yourself believe." ~Leigh Anne Eck


  1. This is perfect! The insights, and the quote, but most of all the determination of each of these students! Thank you for sharing their stories!

  2. I agree with Greg, this is awesome!! I hope they know that you are a witness to their greatness!!!! Best thing I've read about graduation!!!!!

  3. I'm so glad Greg shared your post with me. Power in your words & our own attitudes. I'm currently reading "Classroom Habitudes" and these kids learned these attitudes & habits along the way ... And the mistakes & struggles only make us & them stronger. Bravo to seeing the greatness that all our students possess!

  4. Thank you Leigh Ann for sharing these stories of success inspite of and through the mistakes and struggle. Students like these are all around us. They don't get the visible acknowledgement and awards. We need to look for and see their greatness. Putting on the lens of greatness everyday might be a way to help all students recognize their own. I'm entering graduation season with this mindset.

  5. Powerful piece! Wow Wow Wow! How often do we forget our own greatness - thank you so much for the reminder!!!

  6. Thank you for sharing this post and thank you for seeing the greatness in ALL your students. Hopefully they will see themselves in the positive light that you do!! Thanks for the reminder:)


  7. LOVE this . . . every child has greatness. It is always my prayer that they see it, embrace it, and learn from it. Thank you for wording it so eloquently.

  8. This is beautiful, Leigh Anne, and a wonderful reminder for all of us. It reminds me of Francesca Battistelli's new song, "He Knows My Name." Greatness is in Jesus's eyes, too. I may borrow this post and theme topic for a future Spiritual Journey Thursday post, if you don't mind!