Goodbye Lynch School

Seniors in the Lynch School of Education at Boston College are given the opportunity to submit a speech to the Dean for Undergraduates to be given at graduation.  I submitted a speech which is copied below and will find out in the next week or so if my speech was selected for me to read at graduation on May 24.

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We are moving. Some of us are going to Nicaragua, some to London.  France, Peru, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Chicago, New York City, and everywhere in between. We are moving home.  We are moving to new cities and different countries. We are staying in Boston, either to start working or to continue our education.  But wherever we are going, we are all bringing Boston College with us.  We are educators, counselors, researchers, social workers…we are people who like to do.  We want to serve our fellow human beings.  We have found joy, passion even, in working with others and for others, and we are embarking on a journey to satisfy our desires to be of service to this world. 

We all know that BC is a Jesuit university.  If you didn’t realize that coming in, as I didn’t, you certainly realize it now.  Whether you have had a Jesuit as a professor, a mentor, a resident minister, an administrator, or a Campus Minister, or have simply seen them from afar (maybe now as you see Fr. O’Keefe right here), you have been affected by them. Father Pedro Arrupe coined the phrase “Men and Women for others” during his tenure as the Superior General of the Jesuits.  It is a phrase that embodies everything that Father Arrupe could have hoped for, particularly at Boston College.  The School of Education, I think, exemplifies this Jesuit mission, endowed to it by Father Arrupe to create women and men for others. 

I remember my first Lynch School class with Professor Hauser-Cram: Child Growth and Development.  Part of my grade was based on a weekly volunteer placement that had to somehow relate to my major.  I spent that semester, and then the following one, teaching SAT and College Prep classes with the Let’s Get Ready program.  While I didn’t realize it at the time, this was service learning, which was going to become a large part of my experience in the Lynch School and at Boston College.  The School of Education has given us so many opportunities to take what we learn in the classroom and apply it in meaningful ways by serving others.  The Faculty does not just tell us to serve, as Professor Hauser-Cram told me to, but the entire school provides opportunities to serve.  We are Campus School volunteers, Natchez Spring & Winter participants, supporters of Jamaica Mustard Seed; we travel to Kenya and South Africa bringing with us a desire to learn and serve.  And here in our own community the Lynch School Senate and programs like College Bound and Jumpstart provide opportunities serve and learn.

But who do we seek to serve?

As we move forward from BC, the way we answer that question will change.  One of us is moving to Sacramento to work with a youth services program that focuses on homeless children.  Another is moving to Nicaragua to serve in a Fey y Alegria school operating in an impoverished area of Managua. Others will be moving into roles as social workers and advocates for those who cannot advocate for themselves.  More than one of us will be starting as a school teacher: Elementary, Middle, or High school, serving classrooms full of students that will pass through their doors year in and year out.  And many will be continuing on for further education both here and throughout the country before moving out to serve in a new community.  The commonality here is that we are seeking to do something that isn’t for our own benefit.  We have come to realize the power of our education is larger than ourselves.  We have been blessed with tremendous opportunity here at Boston College, and we have been called to go forth from the Lynch School and use our education to serve others.  Sure, we will be gaining something for ourselves as well.  By serving others we will grow in ways we cannot yet anticipate; making us better teachers, better counselors, better human beings.  But our primary concern as women and men for others, is our service to others.  Whether we realize that this comes from our Jesuit roots or not, I truly believe the Lynch School and Boston College have graciously offered all of us the inspiration and the preparation to serve.