We’ve reached the last week of the 2019-2020 school year. For the class of 2020, they will have an opportunity to pick-up their cap and gown, to receive their diploma, and to take some pictures at school. On Sunday we hope that families will gather together in family rooms or in backyards and celebrate their graduates as we release their virtual graduations. It’s not what any of us envisioned nine weeks ago. But, as I thought about what I would want the class of 2020 to know and to take from this experience, I was drawn back over and over again to a conversation between two fictional characters.
As you well know, and as you will experience many times in life, what we envision and what actually occurs are often very different. In J.R.R. Tolkien’s famous book “The Fellowship of the Ring” the character Frodo is a hobbit and he is speaking to Gandalf who is the wizard and the leader. Frodo says, “I wish it need not have happened in my time.” I’m sure all of our seniors can relate to that today. “I wish COVID-19 had not happened in your time.” As adults, we wish it had not happened in your special time. Gandalf the wizard and the leader responds to Frodo. He says, “So do I, and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
So we wish things had turned out differently. But sometimes in life, we cannot control how things turn out. But what we can control, is how we choose to respond. As our seniors graduate from Worthington Schools and move on to the next phase of their life this lesson will remain with them. They’ll be tested often. Some things will go their way, other things won’t. I believe that how they choose to respond will determine the success they see in life.
Whether they want to start a business, build a winning team, raise great kids, provide safe drinking water in Africa, help the homeless, find a cure for cancer, educate children or create a more peaceful world, adversity and conflict will be part of their story as they strive to achieve their goals.
As Gandalf said, “all we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us” and so when things don’t happen as we envisioned I believe every one of us has a choice between two roads – the positive road and the negative road. The positive road leads to joy, success and fulfillment and the negative road leads to failure, negativity and despair.
The negative road will tell our seniors that they aren’t strong enough, good enough, successful enough, wealthy enough, happy enough, smart enough, talented enough. Well, I say enough with that conversation. Instead, we choose the positive road! Our seniors need to know the truth about themselves. They have everything they need inside them to be successful. They weren’t meant to be average. They have a desire to be great because they were created and born to go do great things. They have a purpose. There’s a plan for their life. They may be going through a hard time this Spring but they will get through this. It looks like the end of the world but it isn’t. This too shall pass.
The truth is, we can’t control the events in our life, but we can control how we respond. Choose the positive road. Our seniors are well prepared. They have a Worthington education. They have a community that loves them and is here to support them today, tomorrow, and into their future. As they go off and change the world, we will be here watching, and after they have found their great success I’d ask that they remember Worthington. It’s important to give back to the community that has given so much to each of them.
The Class of 2020 has had an experience like none before them. It’s not what they envisioned but I’ve been incredibly proud of how our students have responded. In many cases, they have handled the situation much better than we have as adults. They provide us great hope for the future. Someday soon they will be our doctors, lawyers, teachers, firefighters, and police officers. We’ll be in good hands.
“I wish it need not have happened in my time” said Frodo “So do I” said Gandolf “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” Choose the positive road Seniors! And go Change the World!
-Trent Bowers, Superintendent