By Robert Houghtaling
Dear Graduating Seniors
Many years from now, perhaps on a rainy day, you will head to your attic, or cellar, to grab a tool or household supply.
While sorting through some stuff your eyes will glance upon an old box filled with High School memories. For the most part you would have forgotten about a lot of these items. It has been so long since you last peeked that sometimes your yesterdays seem to have belonged to someone else.
There on the top of a discarded pile is your High School yearbook. Nobody is home and you have time to spare. Why not take a moment and travel back to yesterday?
The faces will make you smile (most of them). The styles will cause you to cringe. The friendships, fun and struggles will jump off the pages. Even though it has been so long, the memories have always been there. A bit of serendipity just pushed things to the fore.
At a time when the beach and summer jobs beckon, such thoughts are far, far away. At a time when your family gathers to celebrate and sharing moments with friends is dear, tomorrow probably seems like tales old folks tell. The power of today is beautiful. In fact, adults should practice embracing it more often rather than constantly preaching about tomorrow. While this piece I am writing speaks to the future, my intent is to show that thousands of todays are in the DNA of tomorrows. In short, make sure that you always keep today close to your heart. Tomorrow will be richer for it. This is a lesson your parents can impart upon you and vice versa. Today and tomorrow need not be mutually exclusive. Just a thought.
By passing through the halls of East Greenwich High School you have become a part of its history. During my thirty-one years here many young people have been adorned with a cap and gown. Thirty-one years in the future a generation yet to be born will do the same (perhaps in a new building). You and they are the soul of the school. You made the teachers better with your presence. Others in your graduating class will gaze at a picture of you somewhere down the line and smile. It might be because of an activity you shared. Perhaps your smile and friendly way brought about many fond days. Whatever the reason, because of you, someone will have precious recollections. You mattered in ways unspoken. Beyond the grades, honors and well-earned achievements, you mattered because of your collective uniqueness.
Thank you for participating in a long, sometimes arduous and joyous ride. You have given as much as received. It has been fun watching you grow. It has been wonderful learning from you as well. Hopefully one day in the future there will be time for a visit to the old school. You are East Greenwich High School. Give your parents and loved ones a hug–then enjoy a wonderful summer.
Robert Houghtaling is director of the East Greenwich Drug Program