Archive | May, 2017

Best commencement speech EVER!

30 May

Congratulations to our student intern Bella Campbell! She was this year's Valedictorian and is on her way to Berkeley next year. All of us at The Sierra Schools Foundation wish you the very best!She also gave the most beautiful Valedictorian speech. Annabella Perry

Posted by The Sierra Schools Foundation on Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Be inspired, readers! This young lady, my former student, wrote one incredible speech–chick above or read below–used here with permission.




Loyalton High School Valedictorian Commencement Speech: June 5, 2015

© 2015 Annabella Campbell


The world is full of music. From New York to Hong King, from London to Loyalton—the earth dances underneath our feet. Can you feel it? Can you hear the music? There’s a beauty ringing in every syllable. There are sparks of hope hidden behind every lonely corner, inside every blackened coal.

It’s our choice to decide what we hear, just as it is our choice to decide where to look.

You could travel halfway around the world to some foreign land, listening. Learn about that culture’s people, their customs and languages, their rituals and dances. Walk in their shoes. Experience something you’ve never even imagined in your wildest daydreams. Learn about their music. Close your eyes and listen. Close your eyes and smile. Close your eyes and learn. Because music is enlightenment.

You could stay in California, listening with new ears to the songs you’ve heard your whole life. Keep an open mind, because the songs you thought you knew are slightly different now as you grow. Discover a secret about yourself. Share a few hundred smiles with your family. See those friends you swore not to miss and reminisce about the past while keeping your feet firmly planted in the present. Keep the good memories in a backpack to carry around, behind you, but there to be heard should you need them. They are the songs of your childhood. Because music is security.

You could find yourselves in a lecture hall, nearly deafened by the voices of hundreds of others, but keep listening. There’s beauty in every verse, even the crowded and convoluted. When school is tough and life is difficult, the chorus of your song is the current that will carry you home. Look for it. Listen for it. Find it in the friends you make, the professors you meet, the clubs you join. Find it in the taste of your freedom on your tongue, the sound ringing through your ears. Never sit in silence. Never settle for quiet musings, for monotonous mornings, for lackluster paintings, for deafness in a crowd. Never settle for anything. Because music is joy.

You could have no idea where you’re going. Even if the city sleeps, don’t walk alone. Take a leap. Be kind to a stranger. Make friends, fall in love—the sound waves all around you can work to build yours up. Trust that you will find the map to where you’re going. Hold your breath, keep walking straight, and listen. Because music is faith.

You could have a heart full of dreams and a head full of ideas, but take a breath and listen. Through the cacophony, listen for the music around you. Plant your feet, raise your arms, and listen to the verses other people shout at the sky. The lyrics of others should influence your travels if you listen hard enough. You may be sure of where to go, but if you cover your ears, you close your world to collaboration. Hold onto your dreams, but allow your mind to wander into the dreams of others. The heart rages with color and screams with hope. Because music is passion.

The world is full of enlightenment, security, joy, faith, and passion.

So, look for the music in life. Turn over every stone, gaze up at every cloud, sing along to every song you know, but whatever you do, don’t stop searching. Each note is delicate and beautiful, and transcribed into a language especially for your ears. Don’t let your life be one without music in it. Can you feel the humming of possibilities at your feet? Can you feel the earth exhaling a nudging wind to set you on your way? Can you hear the music around you? If you can’t hear it, then maybe it’s time you made your own.

About the Author: Annabella Campbell is now studying creative writing at the University of California, Berkeley. She plans to be a novelist.

Having trouble letting go?

24 May

If you are a parent and are struggling with the prospect of letting your high school senior go, this is a great book–The Joy of Letting Go by Vicki Caruana.

Give yourself a graduation present! It’s been a hard year, mom and dad! But he/she has made it! You’ve made it! And the future is bright for you all!

God bless!


How to GET that scholarship money you won

24 May

Yay! You got a scholarship! Congratulations!

I know what you’re thinking: “Now how do I get the MONEY?”

If you have received notice of a scholarship other than from your future college, you will want to make sure you keep track of how to access the money.

If you have more than one scholarship, make a chart (or separate file folders) with the following information:

Name and address of the organization.
Contact name at the organization and a phone number for that person.
Email address for the contact.
Amount of the scholarship
Requirement(s) to access the money
Date (if needed) to write for the funds

Typically, organizations require one or more of the following:

  • Proof of admission — a letter (or email notice) that you have been accepted to your college.
  • Proof of registration in a college or trade school — an official letter or online acknowledgement that you have committed to attend that college.
  • Proof of enrollment — online list of your courses or official notice from your college that you have enrolled in classes (most require full-time attendance, typically 12 units).
  • Official transcript of your completion of your first semester or first quarter.
  • A letter from you requesting the funds, with an indication of where to send the check.

Do not expect the organization to remind you to request the funds. That’s your job! Some organizations may actually CANCEL your scholarship if you do not request the money on a timely basis.

Additionally, while some organizations continue their payments from year to year, others may require that you reapply annually. Don’t expect the organization to remind you of the process or deadline.

And most importantly . . . handwrite a sincere thank you note on nice stationery and mail it as soon as you receive the initial news of your scholarship . . . do not even wait until you get the money.