Can’t

Can’t is the word that is foe to ambition,

An enemy ambushed to shatter your will;

Its prey is forever the man with a mission

And bows but to courage and patience and skill.

Hate it, with hatred that’s deep and undying,

For once it is welcomed ‘twill break any man;

Whatever the goal you are seeking, keep trying

And answer this demon by saying: “I can.”

In over 35 years, I have never forgotten this poem. My 5th grade teacher, Ms. Chase was relentless in having her students memorize this poem. Any time one of us would whine and complain, “…but Ms. Chase, I just can’t do this problem,” she would make us recite this entire last stanza of a 1916 poem by Edgar Albert Guest. It was hard for a 10 year old to fully understand, but the gist was clear. You CAN do whatever you set your mind to do.

It is especially important to convey this critical message to students with learning differences. Our students at Riverside are bright and capable young people. They are constantly reminded that dyslexia and other language-based learning difficulties are not barriers to success. Our talented instructors teach and motivate them to eliminate “can’t” from their vocabulary.

As parent of a current 5th grader at Riverside and the new director of development, I urge all of us to consider supporting the school’s Annual Fund. These funds help to enhance the educational experience of our students and ensure that we can provide them all the necessary tools to achieve their ambition.

Together, we can make Riverside the best it can be. Please make a gift to the Annual Fund today! 




By Cindy DiCello, Director of Development

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