Retirement Address to My Students
The seniors write graduation speeches for Mr. Muldowney’s class. As an honorary senior I’ve written one too. I promise..I haven’t mentioned EasyBib or works cited lists even once!
One of my favorite quotes is by William Butler Yeats. “Education is not about filling a pail. It is about lighting a fire.” When I was asked to speak to you, it is the first thing I thought about. I was wondering how to get that message across when I turned on the final Oprah show. I was astounded to hear her say exactly what was in my heart for all of you. I can’t do better than Oprah – so I will quote a large part of her farewell speech:
What I [know] for sure … is that we are all called. Everybody has a calling, and your real job in life is to figure out what that is and get about the business of doing it. Every time [I talked to] … a person who is a success in their life, …they spoke of the juice that they receive from doing what they knew they were meant to be doing…Because that is what a calling is. It lights you up and it lets you know that you are exactly where you’re supposed to be, doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing. And that is what I want for all of you… To live from the heart of yourself. You have to make a living… But you also have to know what sparks the light in you so that you, in your own way, can illuminate the world.
Each one of you has your own platform. Yours is wherever you are with your own reach, however small or however large that reach is. Maybe it’s 20 people, maybe it’s 40 people, your family, your friends, your neighbors, your classmates, your classroom, your co-workers. Wherever you are, that is … your circle of influence. That is where your power lies. In every way, in every day, you are showing people exactly who you are. You’re letting your life speak for you…
Nobody but you is responsible for your life. It doesn’t matter what your mama did; it doesn’t matter what your daddy didn’t do. You are responsible for your life. … You are responsible for the energy that you create for yourself, and you are responsible for the energy that you bring to others. …
Now I will speak to you in my own words.
I have been blessed to spend 40 years following my own calling. Anyone who knows whether a book has been published in England, Hong Kong or Singapore by its wonderful smell has found her calling in being a librarian. I have followed that love for reading and research for 40 years, 30 of them here in Gananda. But it is not just books and reading. It is finding the spark in students and helping them connect that spark to what they read and study. I have loved every minute of it. I have loved the students. I have loved my “lunch bunch”. And I have loved Gananda’s wonderful teachers and staff.Thank you all for the years of fun and support. You are more than friends – you are my second family. I have been especially blessed to work with Mrs. Marlin for 11 plus years. We have had a wonderful time. What on earth will I do without YouTube Friday? There are not enough words to thank her for all she does every day, and for being my friend. Gananda is truly a special place. I will miss it every day.
Please remember. Every one of you has energy, fire, and light inside you. Find it, honor it and honor the light in others. Your teachers have followed their own calling. They figured out what it was that lit up their lives, and they decided to share that spark with others. Listen to them. Honor them. Yes … it is a teachers’ job to show you WHY what they teach is important. WHY you need to learn it. But it is also YOUR job to hear what they are teaching and find the connections to your own calling in life.It is your job to think!
We are all part of a puzzle. We each have a piece. It is only when we work on the puzzle together that we see the beautiful picture emerge.
So…this is what I want for each of you. I want you to find that light inside you, and show it to the world. Each of you is special and can save the world. Follow that light. Be happy and you will make others happy.
I wish you all the best. Thank you. God bless you. Namaste. The light in me honors the light in you.
Thank you from the Super Senior!