As many of you know, I started teaching at EGHS in 2000. In 2011, I decided I wanted a change and was lucky enough to work on Team Eclipse at Cole Middle School for two years. In those years, it was my good fortune to work with many members of The Class of 2016. As a result, I’ve had the unique experience to watch you all blossom into the young adults you are today, and there are so many small, seemingly insignificant, moments I recall from our time at Cole. I remember your cherubic, round faces. I remember playing games during advisory. I remember discussing Stargirl and watching Meran blush when two characters kissed. I remember how effortlessly Aidan Viera and Caraline Gammons climbed the obstacles at the YMCA. I remember Meredith Lui standing at her locker, right outside of my classroom, with a look of determination and slight anxiety. I remember Ben Markstone challenging the status quo in every conversation. I remember Brian Gemma reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid, with his legs propped up on the rail of the desk. I remember Emily Abbott swinging her legs as she participated in a Socratic seminar. I remember Thomas Oh locking everyone in his group out of their Google presentation. I remember being so impressed with the confidence of Grace Miner, and Vicky and Izzie Iannotti. I remember being inspired by the kindness you showed to each other during lunches – where nobody was allowed to eat alone. I remember being so proud watching you all interact with and support Braylon O’Neill. I could go on….and on….and on.
During your junior and senior years, I was so pleased that I had the opportunity to work with many of you again and to meet more of you. Witnessing your journey into adulthood has been one of the great joys of my teaching career. Honestly – the experience of watching you mature from nervous eighth graders, who were afraid of Mr. Brocato, into the poised and self-reliant individuals you are today has been a privilege. One of the reasons I left the middle school was because I didn’t like the fact that eighth graders left Cole and very seldom returned. And that has been a non-issue….until now. You are done. You are graduating. You are leaving.
And because you are done, graduating, and leaving, I want you all to know the positive impact you have had on my life and my teaching. Of course, I wish you success in all of the adventures that lie ahead; however, it is my deepest hope that you find peace in today. Not just today, but in every today. Regardless of what you are “working toward” or “pursuing ambitiously,” may you find joy and meaning and purpose in each and every day. It is my sincerest wish that you choose to live each day with the purpose of truly living that day. Take a breath and look around. Notice the expression on a friend’s face. Notice the cool comfort of your sheets at night and the warmth of your bed in the morning. Notice how still and beautiful the trees are when you are walking to class. Pay attention. Make yourself deliberately focus on the seemingly insignificant moments that collectively become your life.
One of my favorite authors, Henry David Thoreau, suggests that “fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.” What lies ahead of you is full of wonder and possibility. Contemplating the promise of tomorrow is invigorating, but life is today. May you live it well.