Monday, June 5, 2017


What a pleasure to attend Commencement exercises at the Citadel for the Bishop England Class of 2017. It was the hundredth for BEHS!!! I am so proud of these young men and women, but before I go any further, I also want to express my sorrow for the parents whose children face difficulties and are not able to participate. I say to these parents, it's going to be alright. Time is the great equalizer. 

I never wanted to go to these kinds of ceremonies because they felt hollow. I only went to my own to honor my mother's wishes. College was a whole another thing and how I wished she'd been alive. I would've gone happily. And for my PhD, I wanted so very much to walk with my advisor but she was on a year-long sabbatical right after I defended my thesis. So beware of what you wish for. There is so much wisdom in the tradition to mark the end of a phase, the beginning of another. It's a time to reflect upon the blessings, and to receive blessings for the future. I'm so grateful my children have had a good experience and are eager to celebrate these milestones with a smile.

Alex Skattel delivered a very honest and inspiring commencement address. A BE graduate, only thirteen years ahead of this class, he connected well with the kids. He made three points on following your dreams peppered with personal anecdotes. 
1. Don't Panic. When he graduated from Clemson, the country was in the middle of a financial crisis. There were no jobs. He lived at home and although many people thought he was lazy and aimless, he was developing an app.
2. Own your Failures. We all make them. It isn't fatal. Apologize instead of making excuses. Be honest. For every success, he's experienced a dozen failures. But that's just the nature of trying to do something difficult. 
3. Find your unfair advantage. What do you love to do? What do your friends and family see in you? People who love you will criticize you, push you to do better. Lean in and listen to them. They will cheer you on and support you through your challenging times. Your best unfair advantage is right here--your family and friends. So true!

Bishop Guglielmone reminded us all at the end what's the most important thing: keep the Catholic faith. Let it be an anchor. Make a difference. Be an advocate for good.

We were all hungry after this so headed to Lewis Barbecue. This is probably the first time I've tasted brisket that rivals Michael's on the Big Green Egg. By the time I took a picture, kids had polished off most of the food. 


You've come a long way, Max! From an atheist kindergartner to a young man filled with the Holy Spirit! I can't wait to see what God has planned for you. 


Mirka Breen said...

HOORAH!!! hats in the air! (Can you see mine? I'm throwing it in...) Go Max!

I never wanted to go and always went to graduations, and never regretted going. Marking ceremonies do contain the old wisdom of what ceremonies do for us. It's better to be there.

Johnell DeWitt said...

Congrats! I skipped as many of my graduations as I could too. :)

Vijaya said...

Thank you!! It's interesting to see your comments one after the other. I'd never have guessed you were such a rebel Johnell!

The homeschool co-op at our parish holds Mass intentions for the new graduates every first Fri in June. I love that.

Mirka, we never did get that picture of hats in the air!!! A joyous moment!

Barbara Etlin said...

Big congrats to Max! He was so cute as a kindergarten graduate!

When I was three I graduated from nursery school, complete with hat and diploma. I was convinced that that was the end of my education, and was shocked to find that there was another school to follow...

Jenni Enzor said...

Congrats to Max! I loved these pictures, especially the ones of him as a kindergartner too. Sounds like a lovely ceremony. Best wishes to him as he starts this new phase of life!