Pomp and Circumstance

As the school year rolls into a June stop, I always like to press pause and ask my Seniors to reflect on their first 18 years, and consider imparting some advice on their peers. To that end one of their final assignments is to write a Valedictorian Speech, regardless if they will give one at Graduation or not. I write a Commencement Speaker Speech, regardless that I will not give it at Graduation. Seems like a task worthwhile for all of us to do these last days, don’t you think? The other day, during Period 3 we each stood at the podium on the auditorium stage, and addressed each other with all the pomp we could muster. I can assure you, they move me to laughter and tears every year, and I am always in wonder over their wisdom and optimism. This time too.

Tonight, I will share my speech with you.

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No, it is the guns

As most of America is still reeling from one mass murder and bracing for yet another, I find myself wanting to do little else than scream in outrage to not think at all about the epidemic of gun violence that dominates our lives. Not thinking is winning, mostly. After the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School on that crystal clear December 14th morning in 2012 I felt certain that change would come about, that we did not want to be a country where children would be valued less than profit gains for weapon’s manufactures, but as failed law after failed law dissolved into shameful inaction, part of my belief broke. Government has failed to fix this problem here in this United States of America. Thanks to the NRA and their fully weaponized lobby, much policy is run on greed by the ultra-rich who foster illusions for those they disregard. But this is old news. There is no new shaming news left for our Republican Senators to shine on us: we know them by their own voting history which has earned them high NRA ratings and burgeoning cash rewards. But there is always a new twist on who or what to blame coming from their media spots and I am sickened by the garbage they spread.


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How Can I Still Love Teaching You Ask?

How can I still be in a classroom, and still love teaching, even this year, you might ask? Well it isn’t necessarily due to anything particularly done by the greater public or certainly not all the ups and down of working around COVID protocols. There is just something that happens when, text in hand, I sit among readers and writers, and we talk complex characters or plot twists or even a last word, that just fuels me. We are in need of some hope, and whether plodding though Shakespeare’s Hamlet or being somewhat horrified by Shelley’s Frankenstein, or discovering the images and poetry generated during the short life of Basquiat, my student’s visions and imagery and words grant a faith in mankind I might not have found without them.

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