Kathleen O’Malley: What are you Celebrating Today?

Kathleen O'Malley, 13-14, La Salle High School, Yakima, WA

Kathleen O’Malley, 13-14, La Salle High School, Yakima, WA

Today I am celebrating making it through my first month of teaching!

Did you know there is something to celebrate every day? Be it big or small, a holiday or a good day at school, there is something that you should be grateful for every day. A few times a week I ask my class, “What are you Celebrating Today?” I want them to find something in their life that they are thankful for. I want them to think outside the box, celebrate something that is specific or personal to them. The rules to celebrating are, one: it must be positive, two: it can be about you or someone else, and three: you must show respect for everyone celebrating. This idea of celebrating has been a great way to build a community in my classroom.


When I celebrate with the freshman they find it hard to come up with something to celebrate. They do not understand why you would want to look at the little things, they only see the big picture, such as an approaching holiday. But after much coaxing they have celebrated things such as making it through football practice without being killed and successfully opening their locker on the first try! By doing this with this class I have opened up another line of communication – a line that enables us to talk about something that isn’t math or class related. Through celebrating they are able to get to know their classmates, the people they will share the next four years with.

I also teach seniors, a class of six girls, they are basically the complete opposite of freshman. They know each other and are willing to talk about anything and everything. After introducing the concept of “celebrating” they were hesitant at first. They didn’t believe that the small things they did were worth talking about or even celebrating. After their first celebration they caught onto the idea. Now they come into class saying, “I have something to celebrate!” and usually will not allow me to start the class until they have celebrated. They celebrate everything from a remembering to pack lunch for that day to getting into college. I think the best part of doing this now is that now they encourage each other to think of something worth celebrating.

So now I leave you with this question: What are you celebrating today?

Kathleen O’Malley, 13-14, La Salle High School, Yakima, WA

Sign Up for
Our Newsletter