Words of Wisdom, as composed and recited by Mr. Hansen, Tuesday October 14, 2008

Good morning Roseville Junior High, this is Mr. Hansen, with today’s Words of Wisdom.

“Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.” Remember this today, as you begin your Mathematics MEAP Test.

Many of you view a test such as this as a personal challenge. You see it as an obstacle to overcome, and the positive results you’ll receive in a few months time will prove that you met the challenge head-on. Sometimes self-satisfaction makes a task worthwhile—and it all starts with a little bit of effort and a confident attitude.

On the other hand, some of you may see the MEAP as something you must do to get on with your life as a student here. Just another hoop to jump through along your educational journey.  You may even be afraid of taking the risk of not doing well.

Listen to the words of John W. Gardner—former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare—  as he gives his view on failure, taking risks, and learning.
“We pay a heavy price for our fear of failure. It is a powerful obstacle to growth. It assures the narrowing of the personality and prevents exploration and experimentation. There is no learning without some difficulty and fumbling. If you want to keep on learning, you must keep on risking failure - all your life.”

Today, you must face difficulty and risk a little. This is the only way you will keep on learning. Thoroughly completing this year’s MEAP test will improve your test taking skills and give you more experience with standardized tests. We all take standardized tests throughout life—whether to obtain our driver’s license or to get into the college or university of our choice. Even casting a vote on Election Day, this November 4th , will feel a little like filling out a MEAP test! You might as well just get used to it.

Your teachers—past and present--have spent long hours preparing you as well as they can. YOU have been preparing yourselves, too—everything you have learned up this point will undoubtedly help you on today’s test. Remember you always know more than you think you do. Again, it all starts with a little bit of effort and confident attitude. Read every question completely, reflect on what you’ve learned, and make some calculations to arrive at the best possible answer. 

In the end, I know you will all do your best to make yourselves, your parents, your teachers, and the school district and city of Roseville proud of your effort today—and in the days ahead.

And to paraphrase the words of Mark Twain, ‘be glad you did it, partly because it was worth it, but mostly because you won’t have to do it again until next year!’

Have a great day and good luck on the Math MEAP!