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Speeches, Speeches, Yatter, Yatter

We don't want students marching out of their classes. We respect their rights to free speech, but we do not support that. They need to stay in school and finish their education and go to college.” - Hector Flores

There is a national problem with suppressing free speech at high schools and colleges in the name of political correctness, and it disproportionately affects conservative and Christian students and student organizations.” - David French

August gave a little talk before the show about how he dropped out of school, regretted it and spent hours in the library educating himself, ... He talked about developing your intellect, being open to the world and life through books. It was one of the most brilliant speeches I've ever heard on that subject, and it really moved those kids.” - Ron Sims

A high school teacher has no speech rights, yet must use words to deliver curriculum.” - Linda Manning

If you have been even semi-reading my blog for awhle, you'll know that I have embarked on what has turned out to be a rather emotional journey through my past. I have been unpacking and sorting through boxes of "stuff" (including a lot of papers) that at one time I obviously deemed worthy of keeping. The majority of it is finding its way to the recycle bin, but there are still some gems (both good and bad) that I just can't let go...they're tied too powerfully to one of those significant moments that KSHIPPYCHIC talked about in her comment to my last post.

It is with some trepidation, a whole heaping helping of embarrassment, and a pinch of relief that I have decided to share some of these particular documents, letters, etc. with you. This may sound strange, but after all these years, I think I still carry around a little bit of the pain, and perhaps this will shake off that last tenacious piece. Hope so, anyway!

So, that said, my first piece will be a letter I wrote to myself on the evening of my high school graduation, early summer 1966. Just to set it up a bit, my folks were over in Europe at the time, so my sister took me and my brother (who was also graduating). He had a summer job working at Algoma Steel as grunt labour, and he was usually tired by the time he got home. We only had one car (a 1963 Chrysler, if I remember correctly...the only car made with push button gear-shifting...it was weird!)

Dear Richard:
Let this be an inspiration.
Remember your Grade 13 Graduation? All the fun and laughter, seeing everybody for the last time, the excitement of going away to college soon. Remember the jokes in the Home Ec. Room before the ceremony, the anticipation in the hall, being on television as you entered? Remember going up on the stage four times, once for your diploma and three times for worthless medals, pins and cups?

Remember sitting and clapping when four of your classmates, your closest friends, got Sir James Dunn Scholarships?
Remember sitting and clapping when three of the same classmates got Ontario Scholarships?
Remember sitting and clapping when two of the same received $100 prizes for highest standing in individual subjects?
Remember sitting and clapping when thirteen, yes thirteen, of your classmates received $50 and $100 prizes for general proficiency?
Remember the embarrassment you caused yourself when you told people you deserve one of the prizes that someone else got?
Remember afterwards in the cafeteria when everyone was going to go somewhere to celebrate and you had to come home because your brother had to go to work early the next morning?
Remember taking the car after you got home and going in town looking for the others from restaurant to restaurat?
Remember not being able to find them?
Remember returning home, disappointed, dejected, and seemingly rejected?
Remember your high school days?Your few, if any, real friends, your empty social life, your childishess, your laziness, your poor physical condition, your exclusion from parties...

Well if you do remember it FORGET IT!
That part of your life is gone! You're in Phase #2 now. Don't make it as rotten, empty and worthless as #1!
Work! Work towards a goal! NEVER LOSE SIGHT! You've often heard of the college grad who is going to set the world on fire. You know very few succeed, but you'll make up your mind that you're going to be one of the successes,or, if you're not, you'll know that you gave it a damned good run for your money. Above all, though, Richard, don't tell anyone your plans. Instead, shock the hell out of them when you succeed. May the Good Lord be forever with you and don't forget, when you don't feel like working, look at this, think back, think ahead, then go to it and DON'T LOSE SIGHT!

Sincerely yours,
The old you handing you over to
The New You.

GOOD LUCK !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1) By way of explanation, we only had one car, and lived about 8 miles out of town.
2) I found out later that everyone had gone over the river to Sault Michigan and spent some time watching the submarine races, if ya know what I mean!
3) I flunked out of first year University, and several attempts thereafter through night school, etc. I finally got my Education Degree ("with distinction" I'll have you know! LOL) in 1987, which was 9 years AFTER I had started my teaching carrer.
4) The above letter was written by a very lonely 18-year-old kid on what should have been one of the happiest days of his life. Things just didn't turn out that way.
5) I DID SO deserve the prize I was belly-aching about, so they let the guy who got it keep it, and sent me a cheque for HALF the amount...WTF??
6) I won a University of Waterloo Scholarship, which paid for tuition an fees. It's just that they weren't awarded during this ceremony.
7) I grew up in a religious home setting. My individual views have changed on that matter over time.


and yet, still a great thing to write for you to read years later. the last part about that phase of your life is over, and yet it still taints a little of who we are now...

and lose the anger over the idiots and the prize money, i mean who really cares at this point. :giggle:


So here I am reading your letter and generally feeling very bad for what you went through. My high school years were also nothing short of hell, so I can indentify.

Then I read the point of the letter. Letting go and forging forward.

You are more of a success than I think you will ever realize, Rick.

In the short time I have known you, you have made a big difference in my life and it's no big surprise that you went on to become one hell of a teacher.

Your capacity for reaching out to others is an inspiration and however you may see yourself, you accomplished EVERY goal you set out to on that fateful night.

Way to show em.

I like the ending...
"the old you handing you over to the new you"
We really do change as we grow. I am nothing like the person I was when I was a teenager.
I happen to think you are a pretty wonderful guy Rick. You are very wise & extremely giving.
Thank you for your offers to us help during the past few weeks. It means so much to us & really touches my heart.
(((hugs))) cuz' I know you like those:)

Wow! I'm moved almost beyond words....good thing I said "almost", eh?!!

Melanie: I also believe that it's not just the big chunks that determine who we are, but an accumulation of all the little things we are as well, and always will be, define "us". No matter how much I want to deny it, or shake it off, you're right...it's always a factor. With time, a less significant factor no doubt. And yeah, I guess I have been lingering over that damned prize a bit too long eh? LOL

Shane: What can I say?! You continue to blow my socks off when you come out of left field like this, y'know! LOL I'm not certain that I'd agree with you that I accomplished EVERY goal that I made (after all, I didn't set the world on fire), but yeah, it had an influence.

It's funny here in blogland how we talk about "knowing" each other. In a sense, we probably know each other better than flesh and blood folk. My theory is that it's easier to "open up" to a "stranger". (I call it the "Lady on the Train" syndrome.) I've referred to that in a couple of my earlier blogs, and I fel it'll be coming up shortly, but it's a painful one, so it'll be a bit tough.

You are generous with your praise. Thank you.

Mackey: I guess the secret of growing actually IS letting go. I've always found that extremely difficult to do. I don't know if it's that I bear grudges, or I don't give anyone a second chance to "do me wrong"!! The "wise" thing is just a smokescreen...but a pretty damned good one, eh? I convinced my students for 20 years that was the case! LOL.

And thanks bunches for the hugzzzzzz!!!

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  • I'm Evydense
  • From Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • And I'm tired of living in the shadow of narrow-mindedness and ignorance. So here's the fax, Jack! "The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and three hundred and sixty-two admonishments to heterosexuals. That doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals. It's just that they need more supervision." - Lynne Lavner*** I'm confused; curious; satisfied; realistically resigned to being a frustrated idealist; usually at peace with myself, but not always. Amazed at how little I know, and wondering how much I need to understand.
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