The Graduates Print E-mail
Written by Kelly McNeal  
Wednesday, 31 May 2017



     It’s becoming an annual rite of passage for us to thank and honor a dozen or more high school, college, nursing school and graduate school graduates who spent a year or six caring for my guests at both Fields.


     This year is special, as we send off Christina B., who came to the dietary staff in high school and left with an MSW and a job on a psychiatric unit in Manchester.


     My father loved education, having been a Depression-era coal miner’s son in Northeastern Pa. and used the GI Bill, as did a million or more of his era, to change the fabric of post-WW II America.


     After retirement, he’d ride the bus from Scranton to New York City, where he had a NYC public library card and he hung around the world-renowned Public Library. Some summers, he’d register at Oxford or Cambridge and travel to England to study Shakespeare.


     In the winters, he was a substitute teacher in the Scranton school district and for years was president of the Scranton Public Library. For him, education didn’t just mean going to school. His education was a life-time process, an endless curiosity, an unquenchable thirst for knowledge for knowledge’ sake.


     I honor him, along with our graduates, each time Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance signals the start of a graduation procession.


     My father missed the I Pad and search engine era by a decade and was probably better off as a consequence. Part of the adventure for him was the travel for education. Whether a walk to the library in Scranton or a trans-Atlantic flight to London, the journey was woven into the fabric of the knowledge.


     The internet, the search engine and the technology of the tablet and Kindle books have changed learning for the better. Soon, global access to education will break down the cultural, racial, ethnic and political biases that hold back civilization from reaching its potential.

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