Castleton University faculty members were asked if they wanted to offer send-off messages to students after undoubtedly the toughest school year any have endured thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s what they had to say.
English Professor Bill “Mr. Bill” Wiles
“And you to whom adversity has dealt a mortal blow,
With smilin’ bastards lying to you everywhere you go.
Turn to and put out all the strength of arm and heart and brain,
And, like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again!
Rise again! Rise again!
Though your heart it be broken and life about to end.
No matter what you’ve lost, be it a home, a love, a friend,
Like the Mary Ellen Carter – RISE AGAIN!!”
– Stan Rogers
Political Science Professor Rich Clark
Congratulations to the Class of 2021 on your achievements and for enduring the most bizarre final year with grace, gumption, and grit. I especially want to recognize Political Science graduates, Tom Grabher, Wazir Hashimi, and Brynna Riche – this isn’t how I wanted to say goodbye and wish you well, but “Goodbye” it is, and I wish you all the best. Please keep me up to date with your ventures and successes.
English Professor Flo Keyes
There is something you must always remember…
You are braver than you believe,
Stronger than you seem,
And smarter than you think.
-Winnie the Pooh -A.A. Milne
Social Work Professor Margaret Miles
To the resilient Class of 2021: Congratulations! You have persevered through innumerable challenges and now your hard work has paid off. I have no doubt that you will help make this world a better place.
Education Professor Monica McEnerny
To Our Pre-Service Teachers/Education Students, and to Our Graduate-Level Teachers/Students, too –
You Are All Rock Stars! You Zoomed; you supported others; you were patient and empathetic; you made it through dark times and into the light. We recognize each of your efforts and accomplishments, and we are beyond proud of you!
With Thanks, and with Warm Wishes for a Joyful Future,
The Castleton Education Department Faculty and Staff
Media and Communication Professor David Blow
I feel bad about your numerous COVID-19 losses. Lost graduations, lost proms, lost friend time, lost sports. But I feel good about your perseverance, your spirit, and your will to keep moving forward and power through. You are bonded by this pandemic and my hope is it will only make you stronger, smarter and better leaders when you leave here.
English Professor Burnham Holmes
THE OTHER DAY IN ZOOM CLASS
My student told us her secret during these times
To be the best version of herself each day, having little control over anything else
Other than washing her hands, wearing a face mask, maintaining six feet of aloofness
She does, however, have control over herself
She can be better today than she was yesterday
She can improve what she knows to be true about herself
Whether anyone else can see, hear, feel, experience this
She knows she has upped the ante by a few
So, if firestorms, hurricanes, and flooding rains, whatever other catastrophes don’t silence her
Tomorrow, she’ll be better, too
Practicing her philosophy of What If? Well Then
I thank her for her words of wisdom for our times
It’s a reminder of why I teach
In the beginning, oh-so-many years ago, it was one day a week
To get out of my editor’s chair and try to do some good for young people
Now, I often find quite the opposite is true
I feel the students do me some good
As they embark and I look for a safe dock
Teaching me about the experience of what it means to be human
It’s the experience itself and not a record of the experience
So, let us all be the best versions of ourselves we can today, for others
And if we don’t ever leave our shelters, then for ourselves
As we turn into prayer flags fluttering across a verdant valley
Soon brown, then white.
Jody Condon – Trio Program Coordinator
“Stay curious, be kind, and find joy in your next adventure! Congrats.”
Dean of the College of Business Cathy Kozlik
Congratulations for making it through this unbelievable, unique, and challenging year. I have been on campus nearly every day of this academic
year, and I have truly missed seeing students coming into my office to get papers signed or just stopping by to say hi. I miss the bustling hallways,
sidewalks filled with students, and a busy library. I have missed in-person sporting events, plays, concerts, and even in-person
meetings. However, we have nearly made it through, and we have remained safe through it all. If I wasn’t worried about “medical waste,” I would
want a bonfire of masks (or maybe a huge pile to be recycled) to happen early next semester to celebrate the end of social distancing and the
restart of renewed social interaction without barriers. Here’s to making it through, with great hopes for next year.