Mineola Superintendent's Blog

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My Graduation Speech

After last year’s graduation Mrs. Regan, the class advisor for the class of 2014 declared that I gave my best speech ever.  Mrs. Sabatini the biggest cheerleader for the class of 2015 happened to be eavesdropping.  She quickly warned me (some might say it was a threat) that this speech better be my best.  After all everything about this class is spectacular and I better make sure I didn’t mess up.  Well, every year I agonize over this speech so I really appreciated a little extra pressure more than a year in advance.

Many staff members have echoed Mrs. Sabatini’s remarks.  This class has distinguished itself academically, on the field of play, in music and drama, in extracurricular activities including a tremendous amount of community service.  More importantly I have heard many comments on the abundance of nice, thoughtful and empathic seniors.  You have set a very high mark for those that follow.  As you move onto the next chapter in your lives I wanted to share a story about a conversation I had with a friend of mine.  We were lamenting about the diminishing amount of ambition and work ethic in many of the college graduates we know.  We wondered if these were characteristics of ‘new generation’ or were we simply getting old and didn’t understand kids anymore.  After some debate we concluded that many people just aren’t passionate about work.  They work to live rather than live to work.  While I am not advocating that your job consume you, I am saying loving what you do every day makes work a lot easier.

In our discussion we grouped work into 3 categories- the first one is a JOB, We defined a job as something you do out of necessity, after all you need money to live (hopefully make enough to move out of your parent’s house)  You may or may not like your job, but it doesn’t define who you are-  it is something you do.

Our second category is more closely aligned to something you like- we called it a PROFESSION- the dictionary defines it as an occupation or vocation requiring advanced study in a specialized field.  Now- a profession requires planning and thought- most of you are about to start that journey.  A profession is more closely aligned to who you are.  Think about college- you choose a major and take most of your course work learning more about that subject, hopefully leading to a career in that field.  Of course that doesn’t always work out. I do remember I was a dance major for a period of time, but that is a different story.

Our last category is perhaps the most elusive- we referred to it as a CALLING-  that time when your profession and your life become intertwined and you find yourself not easily separating them.  When you have found your calling your work defines who you are. That is not to say you forsake one for the other- rather they happily co-exist, each getting the attention they deserve when necessary. The calling is the time when you love your work so much it doesn’t seem like work.

The best example of someone who has found his calling is the friend I had this conversation with – Ed Escobar.  Mr. Escobar is the personification of someone who loves his job and his passion for children drives his being.  For the last 10 years he has been a role model for loving the work you do.   As you move on into the next phase of your life I implore each of you to find your calling- don’t work for the sake of working- follow your heart to work that calls to you- not only you will be happy but all those you encounter will also receive a huge benefit- for those people that truly love their work can’t help but touch other people’s lives.

Congratulations and may god bless you

Posted 7 years, 5 months ago at 10:01 am.

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