Hello distinguished guests, Chair of our School Committee, Mrs. Bohne, Superintendent Evans, members of the Winchester High School faculty, families and most especially our wonderful graduates, on behalf of all of us at Winchester High School, I would like to welcome you to our day of celebration as we congratulate and rejoice in our graduates -the class of 2016!
I would also like to thank so many who helped to organize this great celebratory event. I would like to thank members of our band directed by Dr. McCann, members of the Chamber Singers and Octets directed by Mr. Buford, member of the Custodial staff of both WHS, and McCall, Junior class officers-Jared Piantedosi, Eamon Mahoney, Winnie Li, Lydia Pan,class advisors, Mrs. Kean and Mrs. Roberts, our Assistant Principals, Mr. Chapman and Ms. Mochrie and of course Ms. Mia Gustin, our Administrative Assistant who worked tirelessly to get everything organized for today’s wonderful event.
I would like to call attention that our flag that we are using was generously given by our student council President, Christopher Kuang. The flag was flown over the Capitol of the United States this past February and was given to Christopher as part of his DAR Good Citizen Award. Thank you, Chris. I have enjoyed working with you this year.
I will start with a quote from the book, Alice in Wonderland. In it, Alice asks,
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’
‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get
to,’ said the Cat.
‘I don’t much care where -‘ said Alice.
‘Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat.
‘- so long as I get SOMEWHERE,’ Alice added as an explanation.
‘Oh, you’re sure to do that,’ said the Cat, ‘if you only walk long enough.”
I think this scene from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland is familiar for so many of us who at times in our lives find ourselves standing at a crossroad. We are not sure of what the future will bring. Yet somehow, we know that with enough perseverance, enough GRIT to continue, we will get to that someplace and that someplace is most likely where we were supposed to be all along.
I have always felt that work ethic and kindness are two of the most important traits we should have in order to be successful. Some of you may remember my words from when I may have been your second grade teacher so long ago. I told you then and I will tell you now that if you do your best, assume good intentions, try to be thoughtful and kind to those around you, you have success in whatever somewhere you are headed.
There is a great little book published when I was about your age, it is called “All I Really Need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten” written by Robert Folghum. In it, the author has listed 16 rules that he believes you must follow in kindergarten. He contends that if you follow these simple rules into and through adulthood, you, too will be successful. I won’t go through all of the sixteen rules he has for us but will pick out a few of my favorites and have quoted from them here.
- Share everything. In kindergarten this probably means to share school supplies and toys. Yet in your years ahead, it will be to share your gifts, share your thoughts and most importantly share your love.
- Play fair. Nobody likes a cheater at any age. Try your best and play by the rules.
- Put things where you found them. Again, this rule probably applies to toys and small items that you may have had as a youngster. But think about our world and as caretakers of this magnificent planet, we have to find a way to keep things as they are and should be.
- Live a balanced life-learn some and drink some and draw some and paint some and sing and dance and play and work everyday some. A balanced life is important. Know your limits and know when it is time for work and a time to enjoy.
- When you go out into the world, watch for traffic, hold hands and stick together. Your families and those of us honored to escort you through your childhood have been there through every step. We have held your hands and helped you watch out for trouble. Though many of you will be soon headed out for your time with independent living, know that we are still there. We are wishing you well and are here to help out whenever you need it.
- Be aware of wonder. Remember that little seed in the Styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that. Don’t lose that sense of wonder. Our world is large and wonderful. It is full of beautiful and fantastic things. Look around, look up and take notice. Soak in everything and enjoy the journey.
So today may be one of your first accomplishments of your journeys to the somewheres that you are still planning. You are on your way. You are off to your next great adventures. And do I have high hopes for all of you? I sure do! I know you will get to where you are supposed to be, if only you walk long enough. Best wishes in your new journeys and know that all of us in Winchester wish you all the successes in the world.