Guest Blog: “Everything is Awesome” by Kim Apelgren

It’s Friday afternoon and I’ve just witnessed the middle school “lip sync” assembly.  I have what has become a frequent part of my life since joining Orange Charter 6 years ago, an enormous feeling of pride.  I am proud because kids who are normally shy and soft-spoken felt comfortable enough to get up on stage and lip-synch songs in front of their teachers and peers.  I am proud because, in some cases,  I just witnessed a totally different side of kids that I’ve known for a long time.   I am proud because everyone is having fun, supporting one another, and no one is judging.  I am proud because I cannot even say these moments are rare here, they are not.  They happen all the time.  At the end of the assembly the teachers got up an lip-synced their own song: “Everything is Awesome” and right now I really feel like it is.  Are we perfect, no, but boy I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

When I think back on my own middle school experience it is very different.  I remember not having the “right” cloths or the “right friends”.  I remember feeling so embarrassed I could barely walk down the hall.  I remember being afraid to share my grades with anyone if they were good.  I remember good times too, but as I’ve learned in my profession, our brains are hard wired to remember the bad, not the good.  I know that our middle school students are not immune from bad experiences.  I know all too well what some of them have had to endure.  But today, in this moment “Everything is Awesome” and I am so truly blessed to be a part of Orange Charter School.