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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Season of Light Brings Weighty Thoughts, Too

Sunshine and balmy breezes, warm lake temperatures and blooming flowers—it’s been an earlier and warmer spring this year than what we usually expect. Summer residents and early-season vacationers were thrilled with one of the loveliest ever of Memorial Day weekends. We do have serious thoughts in Northport, however, despite the lightness of the weather.

Memorial Day is our time to remember sacrifices of the past, and that remembrance is important. Last night at graduation, though, I couldn’t help thinking that the shift in perspective from past to future was a good thing, too. I didn’t take my camera this year, knowing that David and I would be sitting on folding chairs rather than in the bleachers, so I have no visual images of the evening. Instead you’ll simply have to picture in your mind the five young men and five young women on stage in their robes; elementary students filing in to sing “Stand By Me” to the graduating class; presentation of diplomas, with hugs exchanged; seniors coming down into the audience to give flowers to their mothers; slide show presenting chubby babies becoming handsome young adults; mortarboards tossed happily into the air; smiling, tear-stained faces all around. There was plenty to hear, too: addresses by Hans Müller, Evan Morgan and Miles Chisolm; Kelly Fischer’s introduction of the commencement address speaker; Sally Viskochil’s surprise reading of Dr. Seuss’s “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” to the class; laughter, applause, whistles and a few sobs.

The evening provided a look back over the course of childhood and school careers, but the ceremony was mostly a looking forward, for the whole community as well as for graduates and their families. Yes, graduation in Northport is very much a community event, and I like the way it follows on the heels of Memorial Day.

Here they are, the Class of 2010:
Amanda Rae Adams
Miles E. Chisolm
Bryton Yolanda Collins
Kelly Marie Fischer
Bailey Jane Hanson
Imani Ashanti Holt
Evan Chase Morgan
Hans Pohaikealoha Müller
Edward Lee Perez
Jason Morgan Tropf

Congratulations and best wishes to all of you from an entire community!

On Sunday evening (7 p.m., Trinity Congregational Church) this year’s Belko Peace Lecture speaker, Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, will give our community an opportunity to look farther afield to the global village of which we are also members. “Finding Faith Without Fanaticism” is the title of his address. I need to quote here from the information provided by the Lecture Series committee:
Rabbi Hirschfield is the President of CLAL, the Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, a leadership training institute, think tank and resource center committed to religious pluralism and the healthier use of religion in American public life. He has inspired audiences from the Aspen Institute and the Washington National Cathedral, to the Islamic Society of North America and many leading universities and religious institutions. A featured speaker at [the] Parliament of the World’s Religions in both Barcelona and Melbourne, he was recently invited by the governments of the United States and the Republic of Indonesia to speak at the Jakarta Interfaith League.

There is more, but this should be enough to convince you that little Northport is very fortunate to be hosting such a prominent international speaker and that you won’t want to miss his talk. If you need persuasion from another perspective, I can tell you that he has a ponytail, too.

A limited number of Hirschfield’s book, You Don’t Have To Be Wrong For Me To Be Right, will be available for purchase at the reception following his presentation.


NedaD承蓁 said...
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P. J. Grath said...

I'm hoping for a good crowd this evening and a REAL comment or two tomorrow morning.