Boston Latin School - Liber Actorum Yearbook (Boston, MA)

 - Class of 1980

Page 9 of 136

 

Boston Latin School - Liber Actorum Yearbook (Boston, MA) online yearbook collection, 1980 Edition, Page 9 of 136
Page 9 of 136



Boston Latin School - Liber Actorum Yearbook (Boston, MA) online yearbook collection, 1980 Edition, Page 8
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Page 9 text:

HEADMASTER’S ADDRESS TO THE CLASS OF 1980: It is late Friday afternoon and as I sit agonizing over the preparation of this address, I am troubled by the thoughts which pass intermittently through my mind. For, commencement is a time to reflect on the past and to dream of things to come. It is an occasion in which all who know you can share in your sense of pride and accomplishment. It is a time to give special thanks to your parents who have for the past few years suffered through your disappointments and rejoiced at your achievements. Their feelings on this special day range from the joy of knowing that today you pass suc- cessfully from one stage of your life to another, to the sorrow of realizing that having entered adulthood, your dependence on them will diminish further. Don ' t ever forget them for they have given you the best that they could offer. They have guided and counseled you through the most dif- ficult period of your development. I know of no greater fallacy, nor one more widely believed, than the statement that youth is the happiest time of life. As we advance in years, we grow happier if we live intelligently. The universe is spectacular, and it is a free show. Difficulties and responsibilities strengthen and enrich the mind. To live abundantly is like climbing a mountain or a tower. To say that youth is happier than maturity is like saying the view from the bottom of the tower is better than the view from the top. As we ascend, the range of our view widens. The horizon is pushed further away. Finally, as we reach the summit, it is as if we have the world at our feet. Our school has taught you that learning requires hard work and dedica- tion. Our curriculum has given you the proficiency needed to function well as citizens and as civilized individuals. The ability to write and speak clearly, an understanding of our civilization, its roots, and your place in it will help you achieve an understanding of the way in which our, or any civilized society works, along with the ability to direct it rather than to be manipulated by it. But, I am troubled by the notion that w ' e have not done enough for you. Our country is plagued with serious problems which threaten her very existence. We enter a new decade seemingly unable as a people to resolve the economic, social, en- vironmental and political concerns that impact on our daily lives. We seem, as a nation, unwilling to accept the responsibility needed to resolve our problems. A willingness to accept the status quo, and to remain indifferent to the mediocrity and incompetence which prevail in our society will lead, I feel, to our downfall as a nation. For, it is true that every freedom, every right, and every privilege have their price and their corresponding duty without which they cannot be enjoyed. Each of us must take a direct and personal part in solving the great problems which plague this country. Our national public system of education, which for centuries has served for many as a stepping stone to a better way of life, now is threatened by a lack of direction and inconsistent policy decisions. This, in turn, has led to an erosion of trust and confidence by the public in the ability ' of our schools to educate our young people properly. Teachers are besieged by tasks which effectively reduce the number of hours spent in classroom instruction. They are bureaucratically hammered at by public health officials, by social workers and insurance companies, by mandated federal and state programs (often im- properly funded), by juvenile police, civil liberties lawyers, justice Department lawyers, and even divorce lawyers. Add to this the notion that by the age of 18, it is estimated that students have spent more hours watching television than doing schoolwork, as well as the notion that competition is immoral, grades undemocratic and promotion based on merit anti accomplishment is discriminatory, and one begins to recognize the scope of our problem. Is it any wonder that the result of all of this has been a decline in test scores, a rise in functional il- literacy and a low emphasis on achievement. I think that the lyrics of a current hit song by the rock group. Pink Floyd, mirror the image problem that pervades throughout our country ' s public school system, and I quote " WE DON ' T NEED NO EDUCATION. " There are some who mistakenly believe that because a democracy must repudiate the notion of a ruling social or political elite, it must, therefore, be hostile to the idea and existence of an intellectual or cultural elite defined by excellence or performance. There is a danger that the cult of conformity will make the pursuit of excellence seem educationally subversive. I recognize that in a just, fair and equitable arrangement, everyone should have a right to try out for the team; but not everyone has a right to be on the team regardless of his capacities. It seems, however, that we as a nation continue to suffer from the notion which emerged from the social climate of the 1960 ' s — that the pursuit of competency is elitist and undemocratic. To assume that equality and high achievement in public schools are incompatible is contrary to our nation ' s democratic ideals and beliefs. There are lots of things wrong with American education and in the outspoken way of our democracy, it draws perhaps more than its fair share of criticism. We run the messiest, least organized, most unruly, most disrespectful and varied educational system in the world. Probably all of the qualities I mention come from the simple fact that we are free, no matter what our funding source. As long as quality control lies principally in our own hands, as long as we are at least in this one key respect masters in our own houses, as long as we are able to keep alive, and to teach our kids, the American hunch that government doesn ' t do everything better than its citizens — only so long we may well remain free. For all our faults, we’re still the best to be had. The Latin School has flourished for over 345 years. It has maintained an undiminished attachment to wisdom while providing countless generations of students with an opportunity to develop their talents to the fullest. Its course of study has changed over the years, but never has the school deviated from its commitment to excellence. Has it been exacting? Fortunately, yes. Count its toughness as an act of mercy. The good things are not easily come by. You, as alumni, have inherited the responsibility to continue the legacy passed on to you today. You have an obligation to see to it that future generations are given the same opportunity to grow and to develop intellectually that you have received. The solutions to the problems that beset mankind are not unreachable. A dedication on your part to hard work, to serving others less for- tunate, and finally to the recognition of the need to respect human life and the dignity of others can rekindle the values and ideas which led to the founding of our great nation. I encourage you to try it. In closing, may I offer my congratulations to the Class of 1980. I am extremely proud of all of you. Please don’t forget us, for we think of you now as family. May you achieve happiness, success and joy in all your endeavors. God bless you all. Thank you.

Page 8 text:

HEADMASTER Mr. Michael Contompasis, Headmaster 4



Page 10 text:

It is already tomorrow. Time, which never stops on its journey, will pass before your eyes, and in a few moments you will be members of the community looking back on the years you spent at Boston Latin School. When you do, the photos, facts, and memories in this book will be your stepping stone to a happy reminiscence. May your memories of Boston Latin School be plea- sant ones and may your futures be filled with happiness and success. With every wish for a bright tomorrow. Mr. Stacy Johnson Assistant Headmaster ASSISTANT HEADMASTER 1 remember you as entering Sixies — eager, smiling, but displaying some apprehension of a new beginning .... Do you remember your initial reaction to the lunchroom? to detention? to weekly tests? to the mystique of the names and portraits on the Assembly Hall walls? ... I remember you through these experiences . . . and others. I remember you in ties and jackets and skirts and dresses . . . and also in jeans and plaid skirts and hospital pants . . . I remember you as athletes wearing the jubilant look of vic- tory — and sometimes the doleful look of defeat . . . The happy times — approbation, high S.A.T. ' s, college accep- tance, a special valentine, a snowstorm, that means no school today . . . anil the sad times — the transfer of a close friend, not making the team, a teacher who doesn’t unders- tand you, braces. I see you now as mature individuals, each a unique and very special person. Your education and individuality will be your impetus to go forward. Be forever proud of your years at Boston Latin School, for you have achieved.

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