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Steps in a Journey

Graduation Speech, given by Ms. Schneider (May 31, 2018)

I think many of you are familiar with the adage, “Every journey begins with a single step”. And that is appropriate to ponder at this occasion. Now I know this seems obvious to many of you and we almost what to say “Well, duh?” But I am a self professed logophile. I will never look so simplistically at such a rich statement. So let’s look at two important words in this saying; their meanings and their connotations.

The word journey is a good start. It is not the same as a trip. Trip implies short duration and returning. You say you are going on a trip. People ask “Where are you going? How long will you be gone? When are you coming back?”

The word adventure, conjures up visions of Disney World, African Safari. Unexpected changes to plans, surprises and excitement. The word journey, however, is just right. A journey implies a passage. A passage of time, a passage of development. It is a word with more depth. It involves a movement from place to place, but also learning. It involves growth. It involves movement from one phase, level, or milestone to another. Tolkiens’ Bilbo Baggins didn’t just take a trip, he embarked on a journey in which he traveled, and learned a lot about himself and others. Tonight, you are embarking on another leg of your journey.

The other word is step. Steps are important. You were not born taking steps, but when you finally did, it was worthy of celebration! With those first awkward, tenuous steps, you passed from infant to toddler. In that moment you went from scooting and crawling around to real mobility, real independence and speed. Lots of speed. Suddenly parents were chasing and trying to keep up.

While on your journey here at St. Annes, you also took many steps. I am not just talking about your first day here or the first time you read at mass, or the first overnight trip with your class.

Knowing the steps to painting your icon in 5th grade, or creating the steps for your science fair projects. Figuring out the steps to complex Algebra problems- AND showing your steps! Steps that brought real understanding to other people who are not just like us. Remember in TKAM, Atticus teaches Scout that you never understand someone until you step inside their skin and see the world from their point of view.

Unfortunately not all the steps of your journey will be easy, and sometimes you will feel like you are walking alone. But you are never walking alone. Christ is with you, stride for stride, step for step. And sometimes if needed, he will carry you.

So, tonight is another step for you. Tonight you are journeying past another milestone. (This is a milestone for me as well. You are the first class that has graduated from SAS since 1990, that I did not have you as a class. You are the first step to me being known solely as an administrator.)

Bilbo discovered, as he was walking deep into the dark tunnel toward the dragon’s laire, he had to be the bravest he had ever been. On your journey: be brave, be good, be Christ-like in all things.

And may your journey have millions and millions of miles. And feel free to pass by SAS school on your journey and let us know how well you are doing.

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