NHS Induction Speech

Date April 15, 2008

Last year during the National Honor Society induction, I was to give the welcome and didn’t know what to say. My wife had bought me this fun tie with these turtles on it. I formulated this speech in my head as I drove there about turtles and our children being like turtles. It became an infamous speech and I had to top it. I don’t know if I did, but I sure had fun tonight. Below is the original speech for tonight’s induction, and of course it turned out a little differently when I gave it. Enjoy.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Last week I heard on the news that it would reach 90 degrees this past weekend. Was anyone out in the weather? Go ahead raise your hands.

I come from the East where it wasn’t quite as hot, but we sure did sweat a lot in the summers and in the winter we hibernated in our homes, in the snow. Here the kids hibernate in the summers, though don’t they? Kind of like bears or squirrels sequestered away in their air conditioning, doing their summer readings for My class. For Ms. Jensen’s class. Or maybe watching movies. Have you ever seen Ice Age? Speaking of squirrels, maybe you remember that wiley squirrel chasing around that nut. Ever wonder if you teenager is human? I have a 3 year old and sometimes have no idea if she’s human, a doll, or some animal, like a squirrel.

I remember being a teenager myself in high school. Here at Basha I teach AP Language, college courses, and co-advise the NHS. In high school I was never there. I missed 100 days my junior year. I was not in NHS. I was not in sports, or clubs. I took one AP class, and didn’t have a lot of friends. I graduated high school with a 2.91.

I don’t tell you this to scare you or make you wonder who this guy is who will advise and support your children. I am not perfect and my pocket of stones remained unthrown. I was squirrelly, chasing that elusive nut through those 4 years of high school and four years of college, and it was not always academics of clubs that I chased. It wasn’t until graduate school when I met Dr Bonnie Wilcox that my life changed. You see I always knew I needed to pay my dues and return to high school, and when I hit grad school something clicked. That was 10 years ago. Wow. I’ve been doing this for 10 years now. I began my job as an educator when most of your students began their jobs as students. I feel like I’ve been here forever in Basha, my community, my home. Tonight we don’t honor me, we honor your students.

Some of them were born into greatness and it comes natural to them. Some of them achieved greatness through hard work in academics and extra curriculars, while some, like me, had it thrust upon me. Someone saw the love I have for teaching and for this school and gave me the opportunity to work with your children. Those children who sometimes need me to now be that crazy nut teaching in unorthodox manners to make them think, to be unpredictable and fun so much that they love coming to class, but others, ladies and gentleman, they need me to be that big sturdy oak whose roots are firmly entrenched in pedagogy & compassion, whose trunk supports them with strong conviction and firm resolve, whose branches cover and protest them by teaching them to think critically and creatively, and whose leaves fall lightly on their heads instilling wisdom of experience.

No matter what they need from me, from you, or from this organization, tonight’s the time to continue this momentous journey that began years ago. And they may be the squirrel, and you may shrug away their unpredictability, or they may be the wild and crazy nut, but when it’s all resolved they too are the study oaks building the forests of our successful futures. Welcome all.