At the comprehensive high schools, the Chair of the School Board typically offers a welcome on behalf of the Board. I recently read Season of Life by Jeffrey Marx and that served as the inspiration for my comments to the graduates (below). Marx tells the inspirational story of two remarkable coaches of the 2001 Gilman High School football team (Baltimore, MD), Joe Ehrmann and Francis "Biff" Poggi. Their philosophy, as adults working with young people, is to ensure their students are "built for others."
Remarks to the Class of 2008
Western Albemarle High School graduation, May 30, 2008
Monticello High School graduation, May 31, 2008
Albemarle High School graduation, May 31, 2008
On behalf of the Albemarle County School Board, I welcome you to this celebration honoring the accomplishments of these students.
On behalf of the Board, I want to thank the staff and the family members who have helped these students reach this major milestone of graduation.
I read a book recently about a minister who tells the young people around him that his job is to love them, and their job is to love each other.
The minister was an all-American football player at Syracuse. This minister was an all-pro defensive tackle for thirteen years with the Baltimore Colts.
This book was about the Season of Life--The 2001 season of the Gilman High School football team.
Reverend Joe Ehrmann coached the Gilman boys while growing his Building Men & Women for Others ministry in inner-city Baltimore. Building men and women for others…
Ehrmann’s approach to loving his players and teaching them to love each other and live by a code of conduct certainly made me think about the relationships we want to build in Albemarle County.
Seniors, you have a lot of adults here that love you. Sometimes it might have been tough love, right? But I do know that this faculty, your family and friends are all here because they love you and want you to be successful.
My question is… have you been built for others? What are you going to do with the talents you have? How will you present yourself to the world?
At a team picnic, parents come up to Coach Joe Ehrmann and ask him how successful he thinks the football team will be? Are they going to be winners?
Joe says, “I won’t really know for twenty years.” Twenty years...
“Life [won’t] be measured in terms of success based on what you’ve acquired or achieved or what you own. The only thing that’s really going to matter is the relationships that you had. It’s gonna come down to this: What kind of father [or mother] were you? What kind of husband [or wife] were you? What kind of coach or teammate were you? What kind of son [or daughter] were you…? Success comes in terms of relationships.”Seniors, your twenty years begins today. Will you be built for others?
I wish you lifelong success in this community and beyond as you embrace lifelong learning and take ownership of your future. Think about your personal code of conduct , about your integrity, and about the relationships you can create and sustain with the people all around you.
Love each other. Become men and women built for others.
Thank you and good luck.
Albemarle County School Board