By Dan Ferat
Our Ethical Culture Society celebrated the Coming of Age of four Sunday School graduates last month in two ceremonies that drew large crowds.
The June 10 graduation featured presentations by Ella Ferat and Garrick Sandhusen. Ella’s talk, “Ethics in Punk Rock,” focused on bands such as The Ramones, The Clash, Green Day, and Panic! at the Disco. She spoke clearly and precisely enough that even the most neophyte to punk could understand what the musical movement was all about.
Garrick’s presentation, “Protest Music Through the Ages,” compared two examples from the Vietnam War era with two from today. Garrick’s presentation not only brought back memories, for much of our congregation, of protest music gone by, but helped bridge the gap between the activism of yesterday and that of today.
On June 17, Zoe LaCheen-Fine led off with her video interview exploration on “What Makes a Good Person?” featuring interviews with herself and three of her friends trying to define the universal traits that make up a “good” person. The insight of these four young teens was inspiring and shows that they are growing up to be good people.
Graduate Jayden Hibbert presented insight into “Sports and Ethics” by covering many topics within sports that create ethical questions for players and fans alike. He looked at the behavior of players on and off the field and at how a position in hockey, usually seen as the least ethical, the “enforcer,” could be seen as one of the most ethical from the point of view of what the enforcer does to protect his teammates. Everyone learned something from Jayden that day.
Each ceremony included speeches from each of the students’ mentors and parents, filled with emotion and pride. The graduations included the presentation of the traditional Ethical Culture necklaces, commissioned and donated by Bob Gordon each year, to the students, welcoming them into the society as youth members to be inducted officially in the fall.
Overall, the two ceremonies were educational and moving, showing our community that there is hope for our future through these four young adults. They have now been feted for their accomplishments and brought into the wider world of young adulthood. Many members commented on how grown up all four were and how interesting each of the presentations were. The students felt empowered and supported by the large audiences in attendance. These two platforms certainly seemed to be highlights of the year for many, young and old. One member of our Society commented, “This is my favorite platform to come to. This is what it is all about–celebrating the next generation moving up to stand alongside us.”
Dan Ferat is the director of Ethical Education