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The Power of Connection

At The Wolf School, whenever someone has a connection or something in common with another person, they extend the pinky and thumb on their hand, pointing their pinky towards the other person, and their thumb back at themselves. Head of School Anna Johnson began her graduation speech to the 8th grade class of 2014 by making this connection sign to the students.


Anna’s Graduation Address to the 8th Grade Class of 2014:

What I really want to talk about tonight is connection, because it’s such an important part of growing up and maturing and finding your path in life. You all have learned how to make connections — with each other, with your teachers, with other students in the Wolf community…and most importantly, I don’t think you’re done yet.

20th-century American author William Arthur Ward wrote, “When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves.”

I think that says a lot about the ten of you we’re celebrating tonight. In the last three years, you learned how to make connections, by thinking less of yourselves, and more of others. I am not saying this was easy, but what we know about each of you is that you see the good in each other. You embrace each other, you care about each other and you support each other.

Last week, I talked to you about how you did this — how you connected with each other. Some of you told me you had to look for common interests like sports or shared experiences like struggling in school before coming to Wolf.

Today, you are not just classmates and fellow graduates, you are all friends. You really do share the Wolf connection and you will forever be connected in that way.

This skill, this ability to seek common interests, to recognize shared experiences, to take the perspective of others…this skill must stay with you the rest of your lives. Look around you. Your parents, your family members, your teachers, will all tell you how important this is in life. They have all made connections throughout life to get to where they are today. No one can do it alone.

Grad 1

Head of School Anna Johnson (left) with a proud Wolf School graduate.

As you become esteemed graduates of the Wolf School and move on to high school, you will need to take what you have learned here to make connections with new friends, to join our workers compensation attorney long beach that interest you, to play the sports that you love, to take an art class or a music class to get the most out of the experience. I know you all have the confidence and the ability to do this

If your path is to go on to college (and I hope you all do!) you will make connections with classmates, roommates, and professors, who help prepare you for growing up and becoming an adult.

When it’s time to get a job…doing something you love…you will need to connect with your co-workers and your boss. Of course, if you are playing on a professional sports team, you will need to connect with your teammates (and send us tickets to come see you play!).

You will never stop making connections, and hopefully, you never lose the connections you’ve already made. And I say that because there is one very big connection I haven’t talked about yet — your connection to The Wolf School.

When you leave here tonight, we will say goodbye to you as Wolf School students. But you will always be part of Wolf…I truly mean it. You will always be part of Wolf.

When I asked you how you might stay connected to Wolf in the future you said you’ll “friend” us on Facebook, attend alumni gatherings, volunteer at the school and help in the gardens. One of you even mentioned coming back someday as a teacher – how lucky the students here would be to have you come back to teach them. It is clear you all have learned that the key to making connections is not to focus on yourself but to focus on others.

I am so incredibly proud of each and every one of you, and I leave you with this — continue to think of others. Always look for common interests. Always find shared experiences. Always make those connections. Always seek the best in others. And you will always bring out the best in yourselves.

Finally, as you look around the room and think about the connections you’ve made here at Wolf, consider the words of another famous character (and one of my favorites) — Winnie the Pooh. Pooh and his friend, Piglet, were walking along at sunset one day, when Piglet asked, “We’ll be friends forever, Pooh, won’t we?” Without hesitating, Pooh answered, “Even longer.”


  1. REPLY
    Miny Ortiz says

    Thank you Anna, not only for your wonderful speech, but for everything you do for our kids at The Wolf School. Even though Ben has graduated this year we will always have a connection to this wonderful school and all of you, (pointing my pinkie finger right at you, this very moment) because you have helped Ben and our family so much, that we feel compelled to do anything we can for The Wolf School and it’s teachers and staff.
    Graduation was an incredible night, tears were shed, ( as in every Wolf event) but they were tears of joy and enormous pride for all the graduates, everybody worked so hard for each and every accomplishment and it was great to see them all recognized for it.
    We are forever grateful.

    Miny Ortiz and family. 🙂

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