On Friday, May 18th our School, family, and friends gathered at Cathedral of the Pines for our annual Baccalaureate celebration. Students asked Ms. Romona Reid, Global Dynamics instructor to speak to the gathering. Here are her remarks.
Good afternoon everyone. It is my pleasure to stand before you today. My name is Ms. Romona Reid. I come before you in awe of what I have experienced here at The Winchendon School. As a Catholic school student from Philadelphia and a public school teacher for 36 years, in Midland, Michigan, boarding schools and the boarding school realities were far from my imagination. When I was hired by Mr. Kerney in the summer of 2015, I had no idea how my whole life would change and how I would fall in love with this place, called The Winchendon School.
I would like to start by thanking and acknowledging my hard-working, gifted and talented colleagues, the dedicated and determined staff, and the endless supplier of our food and rations, the Sage crew. You all have been so kind and gracious and I thank you for welcoming this northern Michigan girl to this quaint little New England town, with such open arms. Your acceptance and love has been truly appreciated.
To my Freshman Friends:
You have made it.
You’re in it to win it.
You have tasted and seen, that this is Good!
I am so proud of you this year. You have stormed Asia with blazing fire. You have annotated, edited, revised, master noted it, Socratic Seminared it, capstoned it, MLAed it, presented it, and finished it.
You have Collabed it, Service Learned it, Sports illustrated it, and mastered it. Congratulations! Your freshman year is done! Endless possibilities await your future. Oh, how exciting to have so many options and opportunities lay before you, right at your fingertips. Winston Churchill said, “ Continuous effort, not strength, or intelligence, is the key to unlocking our potential.” Look up, look around, evaluate and explore. Your potential is limitless. “Martin Luther King said, “ Learn the rules of the game and play better than anyone else.” It is time for you to go play ball, my freshman friends, and you are in it to win it. Always remember, I will be watching you!
To my Sophomore friends, young men and women of wisdom, I say, “Keep your head in the game and your eye on the prize.” This has been the year of forming your thoughts and ideas, of taking a stand, discovering yourself and running your race. You have grown so much and you are becoming wise. Continue to choose wisdom and instruction instead of silver and gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies and nothing you desire can compare to her. Every person that you meet knows something that you don’t know, so learn from them. Listen to advice and accept discipline and you will continue to grow in wisdom. Think on these things:
- Albert Einstein said, “Try not to become a person of success, but rather, try to become a person of value.” Be like Albert Einstein.
- Mahatma Gandhi said, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow, learn as if you were to live forever.” Be like Mahatma Gandhi.
- Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100% of the shots that you do not take.” Think like Wayne Gretzky. Take the shot.
- Michael Jordan said, “You must expect great things from yourself before you can do them.” Persevere to be like Mike.
- Mark Twain said, “The two most important days of your life
were the day you were born, and the day you found out why.”
Think like Mark Twain, and seek to find out why.
- John D. Rockefeller said, “Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” Do like John D. Rockefeller.
- Bruce Lee said, “The successful warrior is the average man with laser like focus.” Listen carefully to Bruce Lee.
- Pablo Picasso said, “Everything you can imagine is real.” Imagine like Pablo Picasso.
- Steven Covey said, “Be patient with yourself. Self growth is tender, it is holy ground. There is no greater investment. Be patient with yourself like Steven Covey.
Be filled with wisdom, my sophomore friends, and remember, I will be watching you!!
To my Junior friends, I say, “ You’re Up”! “It is your time!” “It is time to shine.” I would like to tell you a little story about a man who said, “Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.” His name was George Washington Carver.
George Washington Carver was a frail, sickly child born to a slave family of 12 children, in Diamond Grove, Missouri, in 1864. Because he was an unhealthy child he was not subjected to the work duty like they have around here at the Winchendon School. He became fascinated with plants and he studied them all the time. When people had failing plants, they brought them to him and the plants were miraculously brought back to life. This young slave child followed his love of plants and his dreams and it took him to places no one ever would have imagined. Even though he did not actually invent peanut butter, he did discover over 300 products from peanuts, soybeans, and sweet potatoes. Foods, household products, medicines, cosmetics, dyes, paints, stains, oils, glue and many other items are given credit to the young former slave, Carver.
- 1896 He was made overseer of the agricultural department of the infamous Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.
- 1919-1926 He visited John Harvey Kellogg to discuss cereal and vegetable production.
- 1937 – He consulted with Henry Ford laboratories in Dearborn, Michigan to discuss the most accurate types of fuel production for cars.
- 1930’s – He was sought after by supporters of Mahatma Gandhi, for information on how to build Mahatma’s strength in between his hunger fasts.
- Thomas Edison offered Carver a six-figure job to join him in his West Orange Laboratory if he would leave Tuskegee Institute.
My final word to you, my junior friends is to follow your dream. It’s your time to shine, you’re up!! And remember, I’ll be watching you!!
Finally, to my beloved Seniors, with tears in my eyes, I prepare to bid you farewell, and I want to thank you for the memories that you have given me, that have endeared me to you, and to this great institution, The Winchendon School.
- Nino, Curtis, and Big Matt, I love basketball! Thank you for entertaining me, and taking my mind off of all things but Winchendon Basketball for an outstanding season. Bless you guys.
- Sophie and Jesse, my Service Learning group will never be the same. Much success to you both, America’s future is in good hands.
- Jennifer and Ivy, thank you for helping me to fall in love with Chinese food in Ms. Ingham’s Asian Food Collab. Yum, yum!
- Jason and Johnny, there are none like you. Thank you for giving it your best. You are so courageous.
- Haoyuan, my Fiddler on the Roof, the pleasure has been all ours.
- Isabella and Amber, you are forever in the conference of my heart.
- Clary and Patricia thank you for showing me Project Runway Asian style. Remember, shopping is therapeutic.
- Sam, Davini, Ryan, and Justin, always and forever, you will be my boys!
- Anikka, Ville, Yigit stay tuned. From ocean to ocean, you are with me always. What fun you all are.
- Cudi, Thales, Freddie, Cam, and Summer. The memories we shared in Haiti, and the care and loving kindness you showed the people there, will be forever etched in my heart. You give me hope for the future of this world and this planet. Thank you so much, thank you so very much.
To all my seniors, this final poem is for you. It is called: “The Train of Life” by Radu Mihaileanu and Moni Ovadia
At birth, we boarded the train and met our parents with the belief that they will always travel by our side. However, at some station, our parents will step down from the train leaving us to journey alone. As time goes by, other people will board the train, including but not limited to our siblings, friends, children, and even the love of our life. Over the course of time, many will step down and leave a permanent vacuum. Others will go so unnoticed that we don’t realize they vacated their seats. This train ride will be full of joy, sorrow, fantasy, expectations, hellos, goodbyes, and farewells. Success consists of having a good relationship with all passengers requiring, that we give the best of ourselves. The mystery of the travel is that we do not know at which station we ourselves will step down. So, we must live in the best way, love, forgive, and offer the best of who we are. It is important to do this because when the time comes for us to leave our seat empty, we should leave behind beautiful memories for those who will continue to travel the train of life.
I wish you a joyful journey on the train of life. Reap success and give lots of love. More importantly, thank God for the journey. Lastly, I thank each and every one of you for being one of the passengers on my train.
Be wonderful! God Bless!