Spring convocation words that heal

As the first week of classes was fading by, it was time again for spring convocation. Classes were shortened or pushed to later in the day so everyone could ring in the new semester with words that healed and beautiful performances by Castleton’s Jazz Ensemble and Collegiate Chorale.

President Wolk welcomed new faculty and staff and reminded the college community of an important message unity and respect. Dr. Michael Kiernancontinued with a very moving story about a school shooting in 2006, followed up by Glenn Giles giving a very powerful speech originally spoken by President Ronald Reagan the day the crew of the Shuttle Challenger perished.

Student Yared Lacey recited Congressman John Lewis’ speech from the 2012 Democratic National Convention and students Chelsea Smith, Meghan Hakey and Haley Ryan shared a reciting of Martin Luther King Junior’s “Love Your Enemies” speech.

A theme of comforting words seemed fitting with the recent Sandy Hook shooting and Hurricane Sandy.

Wolk, along with welcoming new staff and faculty members, praised people who have been exceptionally helpful in the college community, like the people that helped those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Healso commented on Martin Luther King’s Speeches saying, “we celebrate that unity and dignity was something very special.

Some students seemed moved by the comments.

“It gave a pretty powerful message to the student body,” said junior Brandon Boyle.

Kiernan also spoke healing words, commenting on the tragedy of the most recent school shooting and giving a story of how the parents of people killed in a shooting in 2006 were able to reconcile with the shooter’s parents and could respect, comfort and understand each other.

Giles rendition ofPresident Ronald Reagan’s Shuttle Challenger address also seemed to evoke emotion from attendees. In a time where recent tragedy is still close to our hearts, it provided a certain comfort and words of grief and healing.

Congressman John Lewis’ speech, recited by Yared Lacey, reminded us how important it is to live in unity and harmony and have dignity and love for those around you. Lewis was one of the Big Six leaders in the American Civil Rights Movement and played a significant role in the struggle to end legalized racial discrimination segregation.

Students Chelsea Smith, Meghan Hakey and Haley Ryan reminded us with Martin Luther King’s speech, Love Your Enemies, to respect and appreciate those around you, and to treat everyone the same as you want to be treated, even the people you don’t like.

When asked what he liked about convocation Professor Harry McEnerny said “I like how it’s [Convocation] different every time, but it’s always positive and it always resonates.”

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