GRADUATION – June 9, 2013
Three Sunday School students presented their Senior Projects at their Rite-of-Passage Ceremony at the Ethical Culture Society today. Lanue Hibbert, Izabella Repasky, and Hazel Henderson marked the completion of their educational program at the Ethical Culture Society.
With pride, we witnessed these young people leave their childhood and enter a new phase of their lives.
Their mentors stepped up to the podium to describe their own growth with their protogées and to laud them for their efforts and the people they are. David Bland’s testimonial included his observation that Lanue Hibbert is smart, funny, and charming. He was genuinely taken aback when Lanue offered to step up to pay for meals for their meetings and to assist moving household items at David’s home. Ginger Gordon stated that she was “elated” to be part of the process of mentoring a student this year. Her time with Izabella (“Bella”) Repasky was special to both of them. Bella was always ready to go to work on time and it was a learning experience for both of them. Diane Koszarski shared that it was a “gift” to her to be able to get to know Hazel Henderson better. She found her to be serene, aware, and sympathetic to the world around her.
All the parents shared their insights about their children. All stressed how each student had a strong bond with their family and their friends and each had an unwavering dedication to ethical values in their lives. What came across universally was the deep love and support each parent exuded when speaking about their child and realizing the development before their eyes.
Finally, the graduates presented their projects which were all designed via Powerpoint. All incorporated the 12 Core Values of Ethical Culture into their work.
Lanue Hibbert based his choice on a book called Gone by author Michael Grant. Lanue spoke of the story being reminiscent of Lord of the Flies where the setting involves a group of children 15 and under being cut off from the rest of civilization as some children attempted to preserve humanity by thinking of others before acting and other children who acted out of self interest, thereby degenerating into cruelty and anarchy. Lanue could easily see the themes of the Ethical Core values in this book, primarily that “The Golden Rule” is necessary for survival. His message is our choice of how and what we decide is always ours.
Izabella Repasky focused on how the Core Values relate to gun control. Primarily Izabella stated that every person is important and unique, and when a person dies, Society itself suffers a loss. Further, as a member of the World Community, Izella understands that this community depends upon the cooperation of all people for peace and justice. Unrestricted firearms works to disrupt and frustrate these goals and she wants to dedicate her life to helping to adopt more common sense gun restrictions into law.
Hazel Henderson’s project was “Peacemaking Through Music”. She found that the power of music itself can change the world. To demonstrate her premise, Hazel distributed the lyrics to two songs (Steve Wonder’s In Need of Love and Chester William Powers, Jr.’s Get Together) and played them. She talked about how both songs were about protest and peace, and more importantly about change. The words were powerful and the songs delivered the message. Hazel told all that Today is the best time to be alive and that as humanists, we all have the skills for peacemaking.
The graduation ceremony was planned by the Religious Education Committee and Sabine Salandy, the Director of Religious Education who MC’d this event. After Graduation, a celebratory luncheon replete with cake was offered.
The three graduates who will join the Sunday School staff as teacher assistants in Septement had this to say about the time they spend at the Society: “My ethical experience has been wonderful. It has guided me to make the right decisions and given me the opportunity to learn and grow” said Izabella . According to Lanue, “Ethical to me is knowing that I will always have someone under me pushing me up.” And Hazel expressed that “Ethical has helped to shape my perspective on the world, to give me a foundation for making the right decisions in life”.