BRUCE THE BLOG
BY BRUCE APAR
"I don't have behavior problems. They focus, they listen, they follow directions, and they do the work. That's what it takes." Sounds like a successful boss complimenting her staff. Except the "boss," in this case, is the venerable Marcia Royce, Director of Key Institute for Learning Strategies, now in its 27th year. The "staff" consists of eight pre-K and K students, ages 3-5, who just might teach a thing or two to adult workers who fall into the slacker category.
The scene is Key's annual Moving Up Day, held June 13 at Barnes & Noble in Cortlandt Manor. What better surroundings for seminal students to strut their stuff than stacks of knowledge. And strut their stuff they did.
As an amateur actor familiar with the challenge of memorizing dialogue, I was far from the only adult present who marveled at the discipline and poise of tiny students like Alexander Ki-ve, who recited with extraordinary grace and command the story of our American Flag.
His classmates, like Farah Goods, shared what they learned about other towering icons of Americana, such as Mount Rushmore. It was all part of the ceremony's theme of "Loving America: Our Country's Patriotic Symbols."
They all, stated Ms. Royce, "worked very hard to underscore our reverence and respect for the underpinnings of America. It is my duty to teach our children about the greatest country in the world, the foundations of patriotism and love of their country."
Educators like Ms. Royce are to be roundly applauded – at any level of schooling – for imparting to their students that there is more to success and happiness later in life than getting good grades in school. That's a yardstick, not a foundation. There's no line for "strength of character" on a report card, and yet there is no more important tool in life.
As Ms. Royce well knows, the key to inner peace and outer accomplishment is being tough on the inside: motivated, resilient, resourceful, ready to dive into a world spinning faster, and more unpredictably, by the minute.
From what I was privileged to witness at Key Institute's moving ceremony, I know at least eight youngsters just making their way in the world who have a head start on a life well lived. Con"grad"ulations to them, their families, and to Marcia and Louis Royce, for putting front and center what is good and true about the human condition.Eight students ages 3-5 proudly show all they've learned at Key Institute, under direction of Marcia Royce (right). Photo by Bruce Apar