Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Junior Ring Ceremony

These are Mr. Weber's comments to the junior class of Pope John Paul II High School on the occasion of the junior ring ceremony.

18 days.

18 days of classes until Senior Walk, the last day of class for seniors, the last time they will walk the hallways as students of JPII. Though our rightful attention will be on them--and there will be hugs and photographs and tears--something else is happening that is less noticed. From that moment on, the junior class of Pope John Paul II High School, the class of 2010, will in effect be seniors, the unquestioned leaders of the school, the class that sets the bar for the rest of the student body. I've always believed "as goes the senior class, so goes the school". A year from today, on April 22, 2010, we will know what kind of leaders you’ve been. What legacy will you leave? Will JPII be a better school or a lesser one? The answers to those 2 questions will be very clear, most especially to the underclassmen here with you this morning.

Junior ring ceremonies are not about getting jewelry. They are induction ceremonies. “Induction” is an interesting word. On the one hand, it means a kind of formal installation. In a very real way, you are being formally installed as the next senior class and next leaders of our school.

But the word “induction” can also refer to a process of reasoning. Inductive reasoning is when we make general assumptions based on specific experiences. Here’s an example: Johnny, who is a junior, is a good singer. Aaron, a junior, plays the drums well. Jeremy, a junior, made all state choir. Apparently the junior boys are musically talented. From specifics, we’ve induced a generalization. Now you’ll notice that the smaller the sample, the less reliable the generalization. I‘ve overheard some others of you guys sing and can detect no shred of musical talent whatsoever. Logically, inductive reasoning can be wrong.

I’ve always been amazed how quickly people make generalizations about a SCHOOL by their experience of one or two encounters with members of its student body. Perhaps it’s an incident in a football game in which one of our players takes a cheap shot at someone. “They’re a bunch of thugs at JPII” you might hear someone say after the game. Maybe you cut in front of someone while driving, and the other driver sees the JPII bumper sticker and concludes, “Those JPII kids are spoiled jerks”. Or on the more positive side, perhaps you are particularly kind and caring during your Christian service hours and the onlookers think “Wow, JPII kids are fantastic “ or you do exceedingly well in an academic contest and people say “JPII must be a great school; they have really smart kids”.

Each of you juniors in this auditorium this morning has the power to do great harm or great good to the school by the way you conduct yourself and what people see you doing. Because of your actions, people will form lasting impressions of who this place is and what we stand for. That power, that responsibility increases dramatically as the torch now passes to you as senior leaders of our school.

To help you in this last year, we are giving each of you a leather bound bible as a gift, in addition to the ring that some of you will be receiving. Pope John Paul II High School’s deepest aspiration for all of you is that you will be in a relationship with Jesus Christ. A student I once taught said during his senior year it was as if his life had stepped on the accelerator. As life gets busier and busier, seek the Lord and rely on him to show you the path for your life. Each bible bears a personalized inscription from a faculty or staff member here, with their words of encouragement for what lies ahead.

Congratulations for coming this far. Work hard, through your leadership make us a better school, and stay close to the Lord.

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