On Monday night, RePublic High School honored scholars who made the Honor Roll in the first academic quarter of the year. Making the Honor Roll is always a colossal accomplishment, but as members of the founding class of RePublic's inaugural high school, these scholars are not only making the grades - they're setting the bar.
Above, Princess and James Duncan show off their award certificates with pride. While James attended Nashville Prep, Princess chose to join the RePublic family for the first time this fall after witnessing the high caliber of instruction her brother was receiving at the middle school level.
Founding Algebra and Geometry teacher Lee Pedinoff addressed RePublic's cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude scholars and their families. Below, we've included the text of Mr. Pedinoff's speech to scholars - some of whom he has led since he served as the founding Social Studies teacher at Liberty in 2011.
"A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to move from Nashville Prep to join the RePublic High School team. The decision was easy. How could I turn down teaching the you - the original, founding squad? The same scholars who I taught in 5th grade back in the day at Liberty?
Over the last four years, I've watched many of you grow into mature young adults bound for insane accomplishments.
Three short years from now, we'll be hustling our college apps out the door. I have a gut feeling that the scholars sitting in this room will be weighing their options between the best schools in the world - the likes of Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, MIT, and so on.
With the first quarter of your high school career under your belt, I have two ideas for you to consider: 1) struggle, and 2) gratitude.
On the first - struggle. Let's be real. You worked very hard to earn a seat in this room. Those of you in the 4.0 club have EARNED that GPA at a rigorous, college prep school.
I coasted by in high school. I earned As and Bs without having to work very hard. I only took a few AP and Honors courses, even though my school offered many. And Vanderbilt hit me like a ton of bricks. I was not at all prepared for the struggle I experienced as a college freshman. This was the first time I ever earned Ds and Fs on assignments. Because I did not push myself to reach my fullest potential in high school, I did not take calculus until I got to college. Professor Hutchinson's calculus class at Vanderbilt was the most challenging course I've ever taken. I struggled - hard.
I tell you this because what you're experiencing here, at RePublic High, will absolutely prepare you for the challenge of college. By struggling now, you will enter college much more prepared to succeed. Picture it: you will sit in a freshman English seminar reading a text you studied as a freshman in high school with Mr. Blauw - and that will be an amazing moment for you. Experiencing the struggle now will be worth it.
On the second point - gratitude. You would not be sitting in this room had you not worked hard. But there are also many other people who've had your back.
Your teachers. Your teachers are some of the most talented, hardest working people I know. They could make a ton of money in a different career, or in a different industry. But they choose you. Every single day, they wake up - and choose you. Next time you see your favorite teacher, share your gratitude with them. I know they'd appreciate it!
And even more importantly, your family. For most of you, your parents have been fighting for you to get the world-class education you deserve since the day they enrolled you at Liberty or Nashville Prep - an education, that is, unfortunately, much too rare in our community. Your parents or family members get you to school, give you a quiet place to knock out your homework, and help you when you need it. You would NOT be sitting here were it not for your family. Life is short - take a minute today to thank them - and tell them you love them.
One of my favorite quotes, by Chinese philosopher Confucius, is "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life." I love spending my days with each and every one of you. It's not just me - all of your teachers feel this way. We are incredibly lucky and privileged to get to do the work that we do.
Congratulations on the accomplishments of the first quarter of your high school career. And now - on the the next!"
We are so proud of these Trailblazers, and look forward to seeing their continued success inside and outside of the classroom!