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Dr. Jere Hochman
Superintendent of Schools
                                                                                                                                                                                              

 

Fox Lane High School Graduation

Addressing the Class of 2015

Jere Hochman

Superintendent

 

Good Afternoon.

 

It is such a pleasure to be here and I would like begin by introducing our Board of Education members. 

 

Students, these Board members and those who preceded them over the decades are responsible for the policies, the high academic standards, and the experiences and opportunities afforded to you in the Bedford Schools over the past 13 years.  Some of you have had the opportunity to speak with the Board or be honored by them for your accomplishments at their meetings.  They volunteer countless hours to support your learning and activities and the high expectations of our community and I know they are proud of you. 

 

I am pleased to introduce to you

Mrs. Susan Elion Wollin, President of the Board of Education

Dr. Eric Karle, Vice-President

Mr. Andy Bracco

Ms. Jennifer Gerken

Ms. Suzanne Grant

Mr. Ed Reder and also

Mr. Michael Solomon who could not be with us today.

 

Seniors, there are so many who share in the pride of your graduation today. 

 

Look around you.  They let go of your hands the day you entered kindergarten, they held their breath all through middle school, and they watched you mature to become the young men and women you are today.  Even on those days when it may have seemed like they were not, your parents and guardians, your siblings and family have been with you every step of the way. 

 

And, of course, your teachers, your principals, and all of the adults who support your learning made sure you knew your math facts and the three branches of government. They inspired you to write, to draw, and to read (real books printed on paper and everything).  They inspired you to explore, inquire, and run; to compose and sing, to research and debate, and to climb and investigate; and… to think.  From that first crayon picture of your family and soda-bottle terrarium to your last research paper and performance on the stage – everyone in your schools cared for you, guided you, coached and conducted you, and taught you well.  And, here you are today.

 

 

When I was your age at my high school graduation, it never occurred to me that I might be addressing graduates all these years later.  Can you imagine presenting a graduation speech here in 2060?  Probably the only thing for certain envisioning 2060 is that it will be the sixties again. 

 

However, knowing some of you, having seen many of you on the stage or playing fields and in classrooms and hearing stories of proud teachers and administrators about you; what I do know is that the future is in good hands. 

 

One of you is about to embark on a journey serving our country.  Among you are classmates who will begin full-time jobs, take a gap year to explore and volunteer service, follow in the footsteps of family members to college and be the first in their family to take that bold step to college.

 

So as you embark on your unique journey next year and to get to 2060 in this ever-changing world and to mark this occasion, you receive your high school diploma and the insurance policy that was in your envelope – yes, an insurance policy, and the most valuable one you will ever acquire.

 

What does it insure?  It promotes domestic tranquility. It establishes justice. It promotes the general welfare and secures the blessings of liberty. 

 

It protects you - your freedom in this country - and your rights.  It protects your right to free speech and to an absolutely necessary free press. 

 

It has survived years of prosperity, divisiveness, and rebellion.  In the 20th Century it accommodated laws and court decisions that have made our public schools inclusive. Yes, your insurance policy, the Constitution of the United States of America prevails in the 21st century where all of you – citizens and aspiring citizens alike - can learn and lecture, promote and protest, declare and debate, and pursue the American Dream with your rights and responsibilities in hand.

 

Since graduation speeches often offer advice, I am compelled to note that like your education and like your diploma and what it represents; this insurance policy offers no absolutes and no single right answers. My advice?  Never forget that insuring your freedom and your rights requires thinking – taking responsibility - learning – listening - figuring things out and working things out respectfully – and showing up. 

 

Just as your talents were nurtured and your curiosities piqued for the past thirteen years - just as you leave the nest of your families, the daily embrace of Fox Lane and your towns and village - as you enter a world of opportunities and a future of unknowns –– no matter what road you travel - hold on to this insurance policy while you continue to define yourself, to find your voice, and to create our future.   Congratulations.