Thoughts from a Converted Comfort-Seeker and Rhode Island Mayoral Academies Chief Communications Officer

My message to BVP scholars:

When I was a kid going back to school meant a mixture of
nerves and excitement—that uncomfortable flutter in your belly that comes with
a new year, room, teacher, and classmates.  

I remember starting every year feeling like a fish out of
water. I just wanted to get to the point where everything would feel familiar
again, when I would know what to expect from every day. Inevitably, that would
happen. Everything would become predictable and rote.

Now that I am an adult—and know what good education looks
like—I wish my schooling experience had been different. I wish my teachers had
surprised me more on a day-to-day basis—encouraged me to reach for more and
pushed me beyond what felt comfortable.

Why? Because “life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

Today, I know that going back to school can and should mean
endless possibilities. Minds opening. Horizons expanding.

So, from an anxiety-ridden, not-so-wonderfully-educated kid
who turned into a not-so-bad, super-educated adult, I ask all of you supremely
intelligent scholars to embrace your inner greatness! Own it. Believe it. And
then, push yourself as far as you think you can go. Then, go further.

Going back to school should mean pushing past the place that
is a bit uncomfortable, and surprising yourself with all you are capable of
accomplishing. You can achieve more than you ever dreamed if you are willing to
work through the stumbles and the roadblocks.

Going back to school means challenging yourself to accept
new ideas, new people, and new spaces because they might be the greatest ideas,
people, and spaces you ever meet! And, who wants to miss out on that by being

Remember that you have so many people in your corner! Your
Blackstone Valley Prep teachers will make your tummies flutter, not with
anxiety, but with anticipation of the incredible things you are going to learn
on your first, fifth, and 180th day of school. They will support and
cheer you on as you reach your goals. And don’t forget how much your parents
believe in you. They are your first and best teachers!

So, go forth and prosper, BVP scholars.  Your possibilities are endless. You certainly “got
college,” but maybe you also got PhD, or entrepreneur, or world traveler, or
foster parent, caregiver, or all of the above!  Don’t settle for the comfortable. Embrace the
new and the unexpected and the world will offer you unlimited gifts.