The following graduation tackle was given to the Exeter High School Class of 2022 on June 11.
Graduates, mother and father, households, lecturers, directors and distinguished friends:
Thank you to Exeter High School’s 2022 senior class for inviting me to provide a keynote speech. It is each an honor and humbling, in addition to daunting to seek out acceptable phrases for such an vital event in your lives. And I’m painfully conscious that if I’m going on for too lengthy, I’m delaying your long-awaited commencement and the great ensuing celebration.
As a neighborhood enterprise proprietor and energetic neighborhood member, my fixed focus is on “building community.” As Principal Monahan talked about, our mission at Water Street Bookstore is “To build a diverse and vibrant community around the written word.” Therefore, to speak about your home in constructing neighborhood ought to naturally be my matter. But giving recommendation is at all times a slippery slope. I believe it might be higher to inform a pair tales, one from considered one of my readings concerning the pure world, and one from proper right here in our seacoast communities, after which finish with some hopes and desires for all of you graduating seniors.
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All in 5 (or so) minutes.
If that sounds good, let me proceed.
There have been a number of books in the previous few years which have influenced the best way I take into consideration neighborhood. One of the perfect I’ve learn, is “The Hidden Life of Trees” by Peter Wohlleben. Here is somewhat story tailored by me from that e book:
In an previous development forest, the roots of particular person bushes are interconnected from rising collectively (over a few years) instantly or typically not directly via fungal networks between the foundation techniques of particular person bushes. These direct and oblique connections ship vitamins from one tree to a different. It is wonderful to understand that each one the person bushes in a wholesome working forest are literally one big tremendous organism. Each particular person tree offers and receives vitamins amongst themselves based on which tree is comparatively wholesome or extra challenged, and thus all of the bushes are maintaining one another and the entire forest extra vital and alive. All these bushes linked by an underground root system are an enormous group of development and connection and affection.
So a lot occurring that we couldn’t see, however the important thing to a vital forest simply the identical.
When I take into consideration native communities I typically consider that old-growth forest from my studying. All the hundreds of people that make up our native communities are linked, however how do these connections kind and develop and take form? How do the roots develop? There are our households in fact. There are additionally work locations, and retail retailers, and neighborhood spots. There are our neighborhoods. All these are vital for creating neighborhood in our six cities of Brentwood, East Kingston, Exeter, Kensington, Newfields, and Stratham. But it seems that one of many best sources for creating these connections are our native college techniques.
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You graduating seniors are the beneficiaries of this academic system, however via your education you might be all in a really possible way the means by which we create a extra vital neighborhood. So, I wish to thanks all for placing up with our neighborhood constructing train whilst you have been getting educated. It wasn’t at all times straightforward, particularly through the Covid pandemic. You would possibly say we stress examined our neighborhood constructing expertise over the previous few years.
Again, don’t get me flawed, the aim of those faculties is to supply common entry to a public college education for each baby in these six communities. But a tremendous ancillary byproduct of those faculties is the creation of a super-organism of neighborhood. That’s proper, the six elementary faculties in our six totally different communities, in addition to the Cooperative Middle School, and our Exeter High School are an enormous group of development and connection and affection. Just like that old-growth forest.
So let me let you know one other story – this one from considered one of our native faculties that illustrates simply how that works:
There is a instructor retiring from Kensington Elementary School this month who has taught second grade there for 39 years. Her identify is Wendy Lawler. Not solely has Wendy taught there for all that point, she additionally attended grade college there and she or he graduated from Exeter High School in 1976. In addition to that long-standing connection and affection for KES, Wendy’s father Richard Drew served on the Kensington School Board for 31 years and was acknowledged by former Gov. John Sununu for service to the city. He additionally served on the joint college board for School Administrative Unit 16 the forerunner of the Cooperative School Board.
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So, between one father and one daughter that’s 70 years of service to the city of Kensington. But it isn’t simply the size of the service, however the high quality of Wendy’s service. She was an early adoptee of the “Kindness Circle” in her classroom. Many mornings her college students would collect in a circle and observe good neighborhood constructing via the observe of claiming type issues to one another. Wendy was an knowledgeable at educating second-graders to learn. She was obsessed with all her college students leaving her second-grade class with a basis for a life-long love of studying. Wendy or Mrs. Lawler to her college students is a type of lecturers who’s lengthy remembered by her college students!
Now take that story of Mrs. Lawler and her household in Kensington and multiply actually a whole lot if not hundreds of instances over time. How many lecturers, and oldsters, and volunteers, and directors, and citizen/taxpayers (always remember the native taxpayers for goodness sakes) have created how a lot development and connection and affection that we name neighborhood? It is simply breathtaking how a lot neighborhood is created by our shared endeavor of public education. Breathtaking and noteworthy. Just like that old-growth forest.
Now, let’s return to that previous development forest one final time.
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Sometimes in that old-growth forest there’s a tree that’s so vital in the net of connection of the entire super-organism that even after that tree dies off, the forest can not surrender that useless tree’s place in the foundation system. So that tree’s stump continues to stay. Nutrients are pumped to the trunk of that useless tree so the foundation system could also be stored alive. That stump actually can’t be allowed to die. Without that tree’s specific root system, the bigger forest superorganism simply can not thrive. Years after the loss of life of this most vital tree you’ll discover a stump nonetheless inexperienced and rising. The forest refuses to surrender on this stump and its root system as a result of actually the diploma of connection – and even higher – the diploma of affection is so excessive.
So, what does this should do with all of you graduating seniors? Here is the purpose of my tales. Here are my hopes and desires for you:
First, I would want and hope so that you can take a second proper now to recollect these lecturers who impacted your life in a profoundly constructive means over the previous 13 or so years. Silently, let’s enable your good ideas and good needs towards them to be made manifest. I would like you to ship vitamins to your nonetheless inexperienced and rising reminiscence of these most vital lecturers and your reference to them.
And lastly, as you all graduate at this time I want that you could be all have nice adventures. I hope you roam far and large and see a lot of this nice good world. But while you discover the place you’ll name residence, I hope you’ll discover your home in the nice widespread endeavor we name public education. Whether or not it’s as a mum or dad, or a instructor, or a volunteer, and even as a supportive tax-payer, I want you all to discover a place in a secure neighborhood the place the net of connection and neighborhood via public education is powerful, and vibrant, and simply. You all deserve the blessing and advantage of dwelling in vital, educated communities. It actually is among the most useful issues in the world.
Thank you for the chance to talk with you at this time!
Dan Chartrand is the proprietor of the Water Street Bookstore in Exeter.