Graduation brings upon all possible feelings of relief for Deerfield students. At the time of graduation, high school seniors have a two or three month long break before we get to continue in the next unknown and exciting directions that we are each on. For those of us who were born and raised on the North Shore, it can often be far too easy to lose perspective and appreciation for how lucky we all are, so I want to take this time to think about some of the responsibilities that come with graduating from a school like Deerfield.
This past February, I got to go on the DHS home build trip to Costa Rica. I worked on one house for three days, and at the end we presented the home to its new family. The very concept of building a real home for a family and directly seeing how it affects them is quite humbling. However, of all of the things I experienced while I was there, I saw one thing that really helped me understand just how lucky I am. The house we were building was located at the end of a long street with lots of other inadequate homes worthy of our charity.Order now
On the side of one of these homes that belonged to a family with little children, I saw lots of intricate and colorful sketches and drawings, which really depressed me the more I thought about it. I realized that some little kid in that house has artistic interest, and artistic potential. They have something that they’re good at, and that they enjoy doing. But that kid will never have the opportunities to put his or her artistic abilities to use because of the geographical and economical factors that give him or her access to so few resources.
That’s really what being a kid is all about; exploring different hobbies and activities to find what you like doing and what you have potential in. When I showed interest in music from an early age, my parents bought me a guitar for my birthday and signed me up for lessons nearby. Because I actually had a guitar to play and had access to someone who could teach me, I developed my skills and became very passionate about music. That little boy or girl doesn’t have the same luxuries. They can’t drive to the store and buy an easel and a full pallet of paint or a box of crayons.
The family doesn’t have any way of getting the child formal training to help them progress. That’s the sad truth of growing up in a third world country that often goes unnoticed by some of us here at Deerfield. Some students don’t recognize how fortunate they are to have all the things they have, and some students assume that the circumstances we are in here are more or less the same around the world. Learning to be thankful for what we have here is a good first step, but it isn’t enough.
I know that in order to show how thankful I am for the opportunity I had with guitar, I have to really commit to it and optimize my potential. What I mean by this is that I always have to have it in the back of my mind that there are thousands of kids who would do anything to own a guitar and be able to take guitar lessons. Keeping that in mind will remind me how special it is that I have these opportunities, rather than just forming the assumption that those things are automatically given to everyone who wants them.
To take this and apply it to school, the only way to truly show that we are thankful is to use the resources and opportunities we have been given to have a positive impact on the world. The ultimate slap in the face to the kids all over the world without access to quality education would be to not live up to our full potential as Deerfield graduates. The education that we have received here at Deerfield has immediately put all of us in positions to succeed in the future in a vast range of ways.
That is why it is our responsibility to continue to hold ourselves to high standards like we were held to as Deerfield students. Any less would be doing a disservice to those who would kill to be in our circumstances. So as we move on from Deerfield and continue down our individual paths, do yourself and the less fortunate a favor by remembering what an incredible advantage you had having been educated here, and use that advantage to have a positive influence on society and those around you.