An Emu and Oscar Wilde Take Center Stage the First Lower School Assembly

 “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.”

That quote from Oscar Wilde was the theme of the first Lower School Assembly, and it’s the important message Speyer’s new Head of Lower School Ms. Behradnia wanted to share with our students to kick off the school year. 

Ms. Behradnia and the Lower School faculty used the picture book Edward the Emu by Sheena Knowles to illuminate this message, as the book’s central theme is being proud of who you are. At the end of the book, Edward the Emu discovers that “being an Emu may be the best thing after all," and, at Speyer, we want our students to look forward to coming to school knowing that “being themselves is the best thing after all.”

During the assembly, Ms. Behradnia read the text, while the Lower School faculty donned masks and acted out the book. From the first day of a brand new school year, we expect our students to take risks, be courageous, and lean into discomfort. Seeing the adults on stage modeling risk taking, showing courage by stepping outside of their comfort zones, and, of course, having fun, signaled to our students that we are all in this together. 

As you can imagine, the room was filled with laughs and palpable fun, as the students watched their teachers become emus, snakes, seals, and lions! At the end of the performance, they discussed this important theme from the book and shared the quote by Oscar Wilde.

In order to keep this powerful message in everyone’s thoughts throughout the school year, the quote is on the bulletin board outside of Ms. Behradnia’s office, and she encouraged all Lower School faculty and students to add their name to the paper. The quote -- along with a picture of Edward the Emu -- will hang there the whole year to remind everyone that we are all unique individuals, and, here at Speyer, we celebrate all of our differences and similarities!