Monday, June 15, 2015

A Sea of Hopeful Faces

We live a five-minute crawl from Norwich Free Academy, which is on the far side of the Chelsea Parade. We are on the near side of Chelsea, actually on Lincoln Avenue just a little down from where it intersects with Washington Street. We take our history pretty seriously (if somewhat selectively) around here as you've probably already realized.

I was up yesterday with the chickens, who are poor losers in such competitions, with every intention of hitting the outdoor track on the far side of the NFA campus and getting in some of my daily steps in a low impact on my rickety knees environment.

The school sits right in the middle of the city and works hard to be a good neighbor (I think) sometimes more than we work to be its good neighbors. In recent years, area school boards, Norwich first among them might wish to quibble in regard to the word "free" in the school's name, but that's as may be.

Our two children attended and graduated from the school and during that time our lives as a family were attuned to school year starts, vacations, teacher's conference and the like. Our children have been graduates for a very long time so I was surprised but not really to discover on Sunday the track was closed so the field could be fully prepared for this afternoon's graduation.

Ready or not, the Class of 2015, spreads its wings and takes flight today with exercises starting at four. On behalf of the world waiting for you beyond Converse and Latham, you are arriving not a tick too soon.

We've made a right hash of it, I and my fellow graduates of the Class of 1970 and all the others since then. If you want to fix the world, you are entering a target-rich environment.

I resisted the temptation to hope the fence and stand on the podium on the center of the football field, facing all those rows of white folding chairs in neat rows with the metal bleachers, which will be filled to beyond capacity with family and friends later today behind the graduates.

What's to say? Good luck. You'll  need it and a damn sight more than that. We of the classes who preceded you traded our values and beliefs for BMW's and now with the price of gas heading North again, we're in a pretty pickle.

For those of you wondering if you're now in the real world, you have been since the day you were born. How much your parents shielded you is another matter. But no matter when that was, welcome to the here and now.

Our boat is taking on water in rough seas so you have a choice: row for shore or bail. You can choose one or the other. You don't get to NOT choose.
-bill kenny

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