Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pay it Forward!

This is Mr. Weber's assembly address to JPII students on August 15, 2011

You may remember the movie that came out in 2000 called “Pay it Forward,” starring Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt and Haley Joel Osment. Osment plays a young boy, Trevor McKinney, who decides to do a school project in which he does three good things for three people, and then asks those three people to do three good things for someone else, to pay the generosity forward. The idea behind the movie is that individuals can change the world through kindness that inspires more kindness.

Since that movie, there has been a national movement called “Pay it Forward” that has its own website and invites people to share stories of ordinary people being inspired to help others. A couple of interesting stories: There’s a posting from an employees at McDonalds who worked the drive-through. One day a man came through and paid for the person behind him, who then paid for the person behind him. Apparently this went on for about 35 cars before someone broke the streak. There’s a story of a woman who had a flat tire, who was helped by a passerby. When she offered to pay him $40, he said he’d prefer she do something nice for someone else in his name, so she contributed the $40 to a soup kitchen.
There’s another story about ten college girls who went out for breakfast, and another patron paid their bill, saying they were the future of our country, so that the next time each of the girls went to a restaurant, they each paid for a random person’s dinner there.

This theme of “Pay it Forward” is going to be the theme on Friday night, when we thank Mr. Carell for his magnificent gift to JPII in the opening of the Jim Carell Athletic complex. He’s challenged us to respond to the magnificent gift he’s given us by being generous back, by paying it forward. There will be opportunities for us to purchase bricks and contribute to the completion of the project, including lights, statues and other finishing touches. But beyond the financial piece, I hope that paying it forward will be a theme in your life in your dealings with others. God has blessed us in so many ways as students and teachers of JPII, and the only real way we can repay him is to return that generosity by helping others.

May your generosity, through your Christian service and through your day to day interactions with your peers in the hallways of JPII, always be a mark of this school and this student body.

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