In 1993, I did a book sponsored by the Springfield Public Schools Foundation that featured responses from students and teachers of Springfield Public Schools to the prompt: What I’ve learned so far…
Springfield’s public school district is the largest in the state of Missouri and currently includes more than 25,000 students. In 1993, the total was 24,000. I helped start the Foundation so at a meeting I pitched the book idea as a way to help promote the work of the Foundation while at the same time encouraging SPS students to think and write. With board approval and the $10,000 backing to do the book, I went to the Superintendent with the project, he approved wholeheartedly. With his blessing I met with the Associate Superintendents for primary and secondary schools plus some key players. The book idea was endorsed and I was given the green light to go forward.
I’m skipping a lot of details and tons of meetings, but in the end half of the district’s students responded to my prompt. I asked for and got a committee of fifteen teachers who acted as my editorial board. With their wonderful support, we divided the 12,000 submissions into groups and selected our top picks. I was eventually able to publish 1,100 quotes in the book, which was printed locally and ran 160 pages.
We held signing parties when the book came out. Young authors sat at tables around the room and proudly inscribed the page on which their work appeared. By all measurements the book was a great success. A few years later I did a similar book to raise money for CASA when I was serving on that board. For some reason this morning I was thinking about the original WHAT I’VE LEARNED SO FAR and decided to share some of my favorite quotes from nearly 28 years ago.
From What I’ve Learned So Far . . .
Edited by David L. Harrison
Springfield Public Schools Foundation
What I’ve learned so far is . . .
(Age 4) Not to wipe slobber on my daddy’s shirt.
(Age 5) You can eat a chicken if you kill it.
(Age 6) Cats only have six lives.
(Age 7) Think before you glue.
(Age 8) Boys are worse than I thought.
(Age 9) You can’t keep a boy and girl hamster together.
(Age 10) I can go with eight girls at a time without any of them knowing it.
(Age 11) I like money and I don’t have it.
(Age 12) It’s not hard to kick three boys at once.
(Age 13) If you’re making a C in art, life goes on.
(Age 14) No matter how hard you pray, God won’t clean your room for you.