March 18, 2014

Sage advice

Today was a real treat - many of our students were invited to hear a presentation by Rear Admiral Arthur Lawrence '65.  Admiral Lawrence spent 37 years working in various positions for the Commissioned Corps of US Public Health Service, most prominently as an assistant surgeon general under President Clinton.  He also worked in the Office of National AIDS Policy under President Reagan and most recently on matters of bioterrorism and national security.  He has three degrees - from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Services, the University of Pennsylvania, and Harvard.

Admiral Lawrence spoke fondly of the late Mr. Gorski '58 who was his English teacher at Bishop Bradley High School.  He choked up when he began speaking of him, it was actually quite moving.  When Admiral Lawrence was a junior Mr. Gorski, whom he "revered", bet him that he could never learn to appreciate the arts.  So Admiral Lawrence delved into Shakespeare that year and he was able to memorize a large portion of "A Midsummer's Night Dream" (he still remembers it and recited it for us today).  Mr. Gorski made good on his bet - he let Admiral Lawrence use his car (I can't remember what kind) to take his date to the prom that year.  He said that this lesson in kindness was the only lesson he really remembers from high school and he tries to do the same in his life.

He said that the students are learning four things at Trinity - Faith, Family, Personal Responsibility, and Civic Engagement.  He also told them not to follow money when choosing a career but rather service.  Money, he said, will make them hollow and they would have to compromise many things including their principles.  I was so excited to hear this as this is exactly the message I try to impart to seniors each year at their senior day of reflection.

I had to step out for a bit so I missed the Q&A session but when I returned I could tell that the kids really enjoyed Admiral Lawrence's presentation, words of wisdom, humor, frankness, etc.  I stayed behind after the kids left chatting with him for almost an hour talking about his experience on 9/11, his work with various politicians, presidents, etc, it was fascinating.

Admiral Lawrence will be one of the three inaugural inductees into our Hall of Honors this June.  I can see why!

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