Lisa Greenberg describes how the Montessori experience helped shape who she is today
Lisa’s Alumni speech to Charlotte Prep’s class of 2019
I read a news story this week about a study. That study found — and this is a direct quote — “most parents say their kid should start looking ahead at their future job by the age of six.” SIX?! I’m pretty sure when I was six years old, all I was thinking about were my Polly pockets and my mom’s chocolate chip cookies. And certainly, the only career I had in mind was being a veterinarian to my stuffed animals. My point in bringing this up — when I was in your shoes 13 years ago… I had NO IDEA what I wanted to be when I grew up. My dad is a doctor. My mom was a nurse. My big sister was studying to be a doctor at the University of Florida. In high school, she took all the science and math classes — AP Chemistry, Dual-enrollment Biology, AP Anatomy, AP Calculus — and I was always looking up to my sister, so I decided to do the same. It wasn’t until my last semester of my senior year of high school where I had some clear direction of where I wanted my life to go. I took a writing class that year, and it made me realize just how much I loved to write.
It’s funny, because looking back now, I can see where the seeds were planted for me to eventually end up exactly where I am now. And those seeds started at Charlotte Academy — or what’s now called Charlotte Prep. A lot has changed about the school since then — and not just the name. I started here in Pre-K, and stayed up until high school. To give you even more perspective as to how long ago that was — we didn’t even have uniforms at this school until I was in 8th grade! And since then, this school has grown so much. It’s amazing to see what it’s become. The buildings look a lot different, there are way more students and classes, the teachers and leadership have changed, but the values, mission, vision, and message has stayed the same. And it was those values, that mission, that vision, and the message that got me here to where I am. When I was young, my teacher Mrs. Schofield encouraged my imagination with her warm nature and through Montessori education. Mrs. DiMase encouraged my confidence and taught me to chase and follow even my wildest dreams. Mrs. Boyer instilled in me the need for dedication and principles. Mrs. Gerofsky taught me the importance of blowing off some steam and taking a step back every once in a while. And Mrs. Marden encouraged my creativity, taught me the framework for writing, and engaged my passion. These things I knew at the time, but didn’t realize how much they would shape my future. Until I took that writing class senior year. It brought back all of the things I learned from those teachers at this very school. And those are things I took with me when I went to the University of Florida and started my studies in their Journalism and Telecommunications program.
Now, as the Morning News Anchor at Fox 4, and as a journalist, I use those lessons I learned at this school on a regular basis. I use my imagination to tell the stories of the many people I’m blessed to meet. I use my confidence in times of stress when a breaking news story hits and I give you the information you need. I use my dedication to follow up on stories impacting you most. I remember to take a step back every once in a while, to make sure I’m telling a story from all sides. And of course, I use what I learned in writing every single day when giving you the news. I can honestly say, I firmly believe I would not be where I am today if it were not for my time at this school. I would not have learned these lessons, these skills, in this kind of setting.
So graduates — maybe you know exactly what comes next. You picture how you want your future to turn out. What career field you’ll end up in. That’s great. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But if you’re sitting in your seats right now… unsure of what’s ahead, stressed about what you’ll major in in college or what you’re going to do after high school, don’t be afraid. Maybe you’ll be like me — the student who takes ALL science and math classes, only to realize your path at this school led you to something different. Or maybe, there’s a different path in store for you. But know this: what you’ve learned in this school — not just in education, but what you’ve learned about growing up, about respect, about giving back to your community, about problem-solving, and figuring out the complications of this world — has you prepared for whatever comes next. Whatever’s in store for you, you can handle it because of what your time at Charlotte Prep taught you. Congratulations to the 8th Grade graduates of 2019! We are ALL so proud of you!