La Lumiere School Celebrated its 45th Commencement

May 30, 2012

News

Tom Rosshirt, La Lumiere alumnus, presidential speechwriter and political advisor, addressed the graduating class of 2012 this morning during the 45th Commencement
Ceremony held on campus in the Marsch Gymnasium. Rosshirt grew up in the Midwest and graduated from the University of Notre Dame, where he majored in philosophy. He then attended Harvard University, where he earned a Master’s Degree and began doctoral studies in human development. Rosshirt served in the Clinton White House as Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and Foreign Policy Speechwriter. Prior to writing for the President, he served as foreign policy spokesman for Vice President Al Gore.  La Lumiere School’s motto is Character and Scholarship and Faith. Rosshirt’s address focused on character and community.  Character is at the core of everything distinctive about La Lumiere. We didn’t have classes in character at La Lumiere. We absorbed it from the teachers, the way they talked to us, the stories they told, the lessons they taught, the way they looked at us, and of course, the comments they wrote on our report cards. We learned character from our classmates. They taught me from the first day how things are done here. I still look up to them. These are the kinds of guys my parents wanted me going to school with from the beginning. I want to tell the La Lumiere parents here today that my mom and dad always said that sending me to La Lumiere was one of the best decisions they ever made. I called my dad last week to double check – he said: “in my top five, up there with marrying your mother.”

Here at La Lumiere, I learned that a big part of character means you treat others with respect, even if you don’t agree with them. It means you don’t separate yourself from
those you think are different from you – or become intolerant of them, or laugh at them. I learned here that you can’t have community without character.  Unfortunately, much of the world is not doing very well in these measures of character right now, and we’re facing special challenges of community here in America.  A few years ago, a former colleague of mine named Bill Bishop wrote a book called The Big Sort. President Clinton thinks this is one of the most important recent books on America. Bishop points out that, beginning in the 1960s, we in the United States have started sorting ourselves into separate communities – choosing neighborhoods, churches, civic groups, workplaces according to whether people think the same way we do on matters of politics. And when we separate ourselves into groups of people who all think like we do, we start demonizing people on the other side. When this happens, the sense of community begins to suffer, and the country’s institutions start to break down. It’s already begun, and it’s getting worse. When this happens, the sense of community begins to suffer, and the country’s institutions start to break down. It’s already begun, and it’s getting worse. So when you leave for the wider world, take with you what you learned here. The best way to change society is to refuse to let society change you. Never become a member of,a group that defines itself by its distaste for someone else. You wouldn’t do it here. You shouldn’t do it there. If you get involved in politics, as I did, great. Fight hard for what you believe in. Just try to stay cool – and don’t forget, no matter how much you dislike someone’s point of view, it’s his country too. This isn’t new for you. It’s living the values you learned here. Values you and I share. In a few minutes, we will share something more. We will never be students here again. That still makes me sad. Some of the best days of my life were spent here. I’ve spent a long time wondering why that was, and now I think I know: It’s because here at La Lumiere – my teachers and coaches and classmates knew me well, and liked me anyway. And I liked them back. It wasn’t just one or two friends. It was more than that. It was a network of deep friendships built on affection and respect. That is what itmeans to have a community. It’s the single greatest source of human happiness. And once you taste it, you don’t ever forget it.

So when you leave for the wider world, take with you what you learned here. The best way to change society is to refuse to let society change you. Never become a member of a group that defines itself by its distaste for someone else. You wouldn’t do it here. You shouldn’t do it there. Following Rosshirt, Zachary J. Wisniewski, Head Prefect and member of the Class of 2012, took the stage and addressed the gathering. The two La Lumiere graduates, though thirty-five years apart in age, chose to speak on the same topic. “It’s been embedded in our minds after constant repetition over our years at La Lumiere: Character, Scholarship, Faith. It’s the motto the school runs on, and the motto that we must keep in mind after we graduate.”  The following awards were given during the ceremonies for distinguished achievement:
Alan R. Hannan “Unsung Hero Award” Rebecca Kristine Stueck, Michigan City
Jingxin Xu, China
James R. Moore Scholar Athlete Award Alana Raeann Murray, Michigan City
Zachary James Wisniewski, La Porte
Senior Award for Service to Younger Students William Robert Holdsworth, Naperville, IL
Senior Award for Stellar Academic Performance Shubhra Madhukar Murarka, La Porte
The “One of Us Award” Anulé Theresa Ndukwu, Chesterton
(Nominated by Fellow Classmates)
Trustees Award for Leadership Based on Character Zachary James Wisniewski, La Porte
Headmaster’s Award for Growth and Distinction William Kniesley Kesling, La Porte
Matthew Brian Tucker, Chesterton
Aaron Stephen Emmanuel, Canada
The Alumni Memorial Award – The Person Who
Best Portrays the La Lumiere Ideal John Frederick Lake, Jr., La Porte

Subscribe

Subscribe to our RSS feed and social profiles to receive updates.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: