Dear 2023 EGHS Graduates . . .

by | May 31, 2023

Congratulations for completing your studies with the East Greenwich Public Schools. You have worked hard, endured masks, navigated distance learning and other challenges, to be where you are today. Soon you will don a cap and gown, receive a diploma, attend a family celebration, etc., etc. With this stated an amazing adventure has only just begun. The possibilities for learning are endless.

Many years ago the great basketball coach, John Wooden, asserted “It’s what you learn after you know it all that matters”. Having won 10 NCAA Championships and coached Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), Bill Walton, Gail Goodrich and Jamal Wilkes, the Wizard of Westwood knew a little about success. I am citing him here to illustrate that each day we have opportunities to acquire new knowledge and experiences. Your talents, skills and involvement, will not only lead to personal success, but these will also be gifts to others. Adding to the cliché of the day – young people are our future. We must also acknowledge that no one will ever know it all. 

While emphasizing the days to come please take a moment to consider your past. All too often forgotten are those who helped along the way. Parents, caregivers, teachers, coaches, friends and others, have played a part in your story. Speaking of teachers, please consider taking some time to thank those elementary and middle school teachers who provided lots of heartfelt guidance. The Class of 2023 has been challenged and supported by a huge team during its academic journey. Make sure to surround yourself, in the future, with people who are open and curious about gaining more knowledge. In doing so, you will see learning never stops. 

Your class has achieved in the classroom, on courts/ballfields, music programs and theater. There is much to be proud of. However, it’s important to note that some things do not show up as official accomplishments. That is where friendships, respect for others, and connecting with teachers comes in. Students are the soul of every school. That soul exceeds the school’s walls.  Twenty years from now “the unseen” will be cherished along with those many achievements. 

Perhaps I can sum this up by saying that this piece is really about possibility and gratitude. Going through the East Greenwich school system has offered opportunities not all students across the land receive. This is something to be grateful for. What happens next is up to you. It has been an honor to have worked with the Class of 2023. Enjoy your summer. Enjoy your future. Enjoy, embrace, and grow from all of the upcoming possibilities. I look forward to seeing and hearing about tomorrow’s adventures. See you soon.

Bob Houghtaling is the director of the East Greenwich Drug Program, a mental health counselor, and poet.

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Susan oclassen
Susan oclassen
June 2, 2023 8:09 am

Bob Houghtaling is a town treasure!


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