by Mayor Tammy

I’m actually writing today’s blog post with a different audience in mind. This one is for our younger Meridian residents. Those of you that couldn’t wait to be on summer vacation last May, and are now counting down the days until you’re back at school with your friends. This one is for you.

I’m sure all of your minds are on reconnecting with friends, what outfit to wear on your first day…or being able to buy one, and if you’ll have your favorite teacher again this year.  I just have a few things I want to remind you about as well. I promise I’ll keep it short, since you’re not fully back into the swing of assigned readings yet.  

You have your whole life ahead of you, but what that life looks like will depend a lot on the work that you put in each day at school. While grades are important, that’s not everything – it’s important you work hard and do your best. Your dedication to studying, the respect that you give to your teachers, finding things that you’re passionate about, and how you treat your peers – those will all shape you and stay with you as you get older.

I challenge each of you to go back to school with open minds and open hearts. Try out a new sport or club – you never know if you’ll enjoy something or find a hidden talent until you give it a try. And take a moment to get to know someone new. Sometimes we get wrapped up in the friendships that we have, but I can tell you from experience, we don’t run out of room in our lives for good friends! On that same note, I also challenge you to be kind and encourage those around you to spread kindness as well. If you see someone having a tough day, ask them to have lunch with you, write them a kind note, or just let them know you’re around if they need to talk. Here at the City we call it “Do the Right” where we do something kind to the person to our right.  Though it’s something that we try to do every day, sometimes those kindness muscles need some good exercising, so be kind…do something nice for a complete stranger, your next door neighbor, your parents! Do it often.

I know that school can come with a lot of pressure. The pressure to fit in, the pressure to get good grades, and the pressure coming at you from your peers. To those I say – don’t be afraid to stand out, put in the work and do your very best, and don’t listen to peers that don’t want what’s best for you. If you’re faced with a choice, listen to your gut. I still look to my gut, and what would make my parents proud, before making tough choices. There will be times when you feel like “everyone’s doing it”, be it bullying, drugs, or alcohol. But the truth is, most people aren’t doing it and those voices just need to be louder. The majority of students are choosing to stand up to bullies, and say no to drugs and alcohol. A great example of that is Zach Telford, who can be seen in this video talking about finding his natural high on the race track. I encourage each of you to find your own natural high.

It’s important to surround yourself with people that will push you higher and help you to become a better person. A great example of that is what we see each day from the members of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council. This incredible group of students comes together twice a month for leadership activities, community service projects, and social events. All 9th-12th grade students throughout the Treasure Valley are invited to join the Council. In fact, ourannual kick off meeting is coming up on August 22nd, and we’d love for interested students to join us and see what it’s all about.

Okay, that’s enough from me. You can go back to enjoying your last days of freedom. Enjoy the sunshine!

-Mayor Tammy

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