The Pluto Class – Graduation 2007

Mr. Ogden, Mr. Wilkinson, members of the faculty, graduates, parents, and honored guests:

Welcome, congratulations, and greetings.  I want to first thank you students, your parents, and the community, on behalf of the school committee, for your continued commitment to, faith in, and support for, the public school system in this town.   And thank you for showing that commitment at the ballot box a week and half ago.  And thank you especially to you graduates who stood up, got involved, and played a part in that historic vote.  You took to the streets, you took to the web, you made your voices heard;  and in doing so, you made a difference.  For that, you should be applauded!

Franklin high class of 2007,  I’ll always remember you as the Pluto class.   You see, at the beginning of your senior year, it was reported that scientists had determined that pluto was no longer deserving of status as a planet.   Nothing changed on Pluto, but it seems to have failed the revised celestial MCAS.

The demotion of Pluto got me to thinking about some of the implications:

  • Does that mean our solar system is smaller?
  • Will Pluto,that poor dog at disney world, become an also ran;
  • And what about the school budget?  Now that there only 8 planets, will we have to order new books, charts and solar system models for the science department?  I’ll check with Mr. Hoar on that.

Well, what does all of this have to do with graduation you ask?

It’s simply meant to remind you that this is a changing world, and even bedrock scientific concepts  are subject to amendment.

It’s meant to remind you that you are being educated to take on tasks and ideas that don’t even exist today.

This Pluto discussion is meant to remind you that we apply labels to everything in life and sometimes we’re right and sometimes we’re wrong.  It’s up to your generation to further develop the proof.

Defining the future is your task.

And finally, it’s meant to remind you that to succeed you must be visionaries as you go through every aspect of life.

About a hundred years ago, a little girl went up to a very special lady named Helen Keller and asked her if there was anything worse than losing your eyesight.  Helen communicated with this girl in her own special way and answered yes.

“What is that?” She asked.

Helen responded:  “Losing your vision.”

You need to remember that vision is having long‑term perspective.  It’s the difference between looking at your feet as you walk along, and looking at the mountaintop that you are aiming at.  Visionaries look into the distance and think about what could be.

I can only hope that each of you have been deeply touched, profoundly inspired, and graciously enriched by someone of vision, be it one of your teachers on this side of the room, the staff who have surrounded you in  one of our 10 schools for the past 13 years, your parents, your grandparents, your friends, your family, whomever.

And so, my dear friends of the Pluto class, one final thing:

Should you happen to find yourself on the former planet Pluto in the future, please tell the people there not to be insulted by our actions.  Tell them we were merely seeking to find order in our own lives.

Good luck class of 2007 and keep in touch.

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