Sunday, November 20, 2016

You Are Splendid...Lehighton's 2016 National Honor Society Induction Ceremony

On Thursday, November 17th, the Daniel I. Farren Chapter of the National Honor Society inducted its newest members.

Congratulations to these new members:  Aubrey Blasiak, Caine Carpenter, Piper DeMatte, Jennifer Dobrowski, Julia Frey, Patrick Lawler, Matthew Pettit-Clair, Maura Phelan, Brandon Schnell, Ty Sharrow, Nolan Wentz, Grant Wetzel, and Mary Wilhelm.

They join Julia Banning, Tia Brownmiller, Tyler Dietz, Andrew Ebbert, Matthew Eckhart, Bethany Evans, Kaitlin Higgins, Elise Johnston (President), Brianna Keiser, McKEnna Knappenberger, and Morgan Yurasits.

Many members are former students of mine and some of them asked if I would deliver a few words at the ceremony.



Here are those remarks:


Aced my calculus test – Check!

Homecoming weekend – danced like a freak!- Check!

Induction into the National Honor Society – Check!

Congratulations!...You are now 'honorable.'

You now have more pieces of your Puzzle.

Things are now 'Over.'  Time to get onto what's 'Next'…

~~~~
 What I have to say to you tonight might not make sense…


This won't be so much of a good speech, as it will be more like a bad poem...
~~~

You have entered into a society of scholars…honor…


Honor is a heavy responsibility, though it does not have to be difficult…



You are vibrant.  You are splendid. 


And yet you will be forgotten.  And you will forget. 
  
One by one, your brain will filter and prioritize these memories.

One by one, days like these come together and form the jigsaw puzzle of your life…

These random days, these random pieces…

Once strewn about and separate, are now coming together to form the image of what your life is….

Today is one of those days when all your puzzle pieces seem to fit.

It's been a long time since you were in my 5th grade class.  Can you remember those days?  You've assembled many new pieces since then.

And like those days have faded to you, so too will the memory of this day.

Oddly, it seems like just as you begin to lose the memory of your individual pieces…is the time when your life begins to make sense. 

Here's some good advice, simple advice: 'Over' & 'Next.'

Learn to know when things are over.  Learn to know when to deal with what comes next. 
  
When one part of your life is over, it’s over.  Time to move on to the next thing. 

Among my best hopes for you, is for you to have a place to rest somewhere between what’s ‘Over’ and what’s ‘Next’. 
  
Maybe you could string up a hammock, and lay there in the sweet in-between time of what's ‘Over’ and what comes ‘Next.’

However, "Life is very long."  (T.S. Eliot)  

It is too long to simply lie in a hammock. 

After all, you have a puzzle to finish!

You want to move, you want to connect things. 

You have dreams to fulfill. 

You are made of positive light...it's time to shine!


And yet…

Sometimes in life, we do some pretty foolish things, things we hope will be forgotten, will be forgiven…

Sometimes running is useless, sometimes fighting is foolish, sometimes we spend too much time thinking of ways not to lose…

All can be forgotten.  All can be forgiven.

One by one, your dreams will fade to twilight,
One by one …flowers fade in your garden,
One by one…the leaves fall from the trees,

And so too, one by one, the hair of your head will fall, it will fade, and it will turn gray...

One by one, your sweetest days will slip behind you…

One by one, stars will brighten, and stars will fade…

And even though this day, this day of ceremony,

...will most likely fade and be forgotten,

It remains part of the whole, the ‘Over’ and ‘Next’…

There is much to come, in this day, in future days…

There is a premonition that lurks inside you like a match of hidden potential,

A match that can spark, it can flame, it can ignite, it can engulf, it can consume…

In all of it, lays life’s goal: to shine, to be incandescent.



Can we possibly ask for anything more?

~~~~

You the new inductees and current members of our National Honor Society chapter certainly possess nothing less…

May your hands always be busy, may your heart always be joyful,

May you always see the truth…

May you live to see the virtue of your own actions…

May you never seek the virtue of your own actions.

May you make dust and not eat it...

May you treat others, not as you wish to be treated, but rather how they need to be treated...

May you sparkle, may you pulse, may you shine...

May you be like the match and burn on, and burn on, burn on...

May your potential shine down like the stars up in the sky…
  
And no matter how bumpy your road becomes...

...No matter how twisty your life’s roads turn, …

Learn to rest between what is ‘Over’ and what is ‘Next’…

You may forget a lot of things, but always remember...

How honorable you were this day…

~~~~

You are vibrant…

You are splendid…

Now Go Forth! (Whitman)...Go Forth and Shine!...

...thank you.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sources:
~Arthur Sze's poem "The Ginkgo Light"
~Bob Dylan's "Forever Young"
~Woody Guthrie/Billy Bragg's "One by One"


Here is Nick Hoster, Piper DeMatte, and Maura Phelan in June of 2011.  They do grow so fast, don't they?  A little story behind the shot: The girls, unbeknownst to me, had referred to me in this shirt as "Forrest Gump."  Sometime before the last day of school that year, they asked me to wear it, it was their favorite shirt I wore.

No comments:

Post a Comment