Tonight is a special night when we get to celebrate the hard work and determination of a group of students that have chosen to “rejoice in the challenge” as outlined in our “Charger Way”. And it is quite a challenge to conquer the curriculum that has been laid out before these scholars – which makes their accomplishment all the more impressive.
Some will say that this is the “smart” group – or the “talented” group – or the “gifted” students. That these are the students to which learning comes easily. To this I reply emphatically “No”! Because to say this is to shortchange their accomplishments. To say this is to imply that these students were simply born with these abilities and have done nothing to deserve their honors. Rather, I say this is the “dedicated” group – the “steadfast” group – the “diligent” group – which is a much greater compliment, as it speaks not to attributes that were bestowed upon them at birth, but rather to the content of their character.
It is extremely fitting that our current virtue of the month is “firmitas” which in Latin means - Strength of mind, or the ability to stick one’s purpose. In English, it can best be translated as “tenacity”. I could stand up here try to persuade this audience and Ms. Manty and Mrs. Kasten that I had the foresight to plan this out before this school year; to have January’s virtue to be “firmitas” in order to lend some sort of poignancy to this occasion….but alas…it is merely a happy accident.
Along with our virtue of the month, we have a correlating quote of the week and this week’s quote by Calvin Coolidge is also apropos”
“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing in the world in more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is a proverb. Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
If you are not current with your Latin studies, omnipotent means all powerful.
Persistence and determination are all powerful.
Students, the world will tell you otherwise. It will tell you that hard work is for suckers. It will tell you that clever people don’t have to attend to their studies. It will tell you that if you are “smart” enough or “gifted” enough, you will be fine. The world will try to tempt you with these shortcuts to success.
Remember, there are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going. When it comes to education and to life; the long way around IS the shortest route home.
This IS a special group…. NOT because they are gifted or talented or clever…… but because they have shown themselves to be strong-minded and determined and resolute…..which is the greatest compliment that I can give on this occasion.
Congratulations inductees! Thank you.