When I was asked to talk about scholarship, I was pleased because I know that there is nothing more important than scholarship. Without scholarship we wouldn’t have a school. This is for the obvious reason that the school gives away a lot of scholarships in order to ensure everyone can get an education; however, Ms. Goldstein then gently explained to me that my understanding of the topic was slightly askew. Rather, I was tasked to speak about an equally important type of scholarship: The highest level of learning, which is also something we have at the Academy.
This got me thinking: In order to be scholarly, it is imperative to understand what people, such as my teachers, are saying to me, and words, like scholarship, often have multiple meanings, and multiple meanings can, if we are not careful, lead to misunderstandings. For example, it is not uncommon for students to say that it is hard to find the right classes, and indeed, with the multitude of options at Ida Crown, this is in fact a challenge. However, since moving to the new building, many of us have literally had the problem of finding the right classes. In truth, I have yet to find the library. I really miss Mrs. Feder.
Here’s another source of confusion: Over my four years here, I have been told many times that my work was fine. I always understood that in the context of a fine linen or a fine wine, and I took great pride in such positive feedback. Regrettably, when I received my report card, it was evident that I terribly misread the situation. I guess it was more like: “Eh, you did fine.”
During our years here we have been tasked with many responsibilities. My colleagues and I were often asked to oversee many projects including: student council, National Honors Society and shpiel writing. When I was asked to do so, I enthusiastically accepted, considering this was a pretty easy job to handle. I oversaw all of my responsibilities and did absolutely nothing: mission accomplished.
In truth, words are not the only things that can have multiple meanings: artwork also lends itself to multiple interpretations. For example, Benjamin Franklin noted that artists have difficulty in distinguishing between a rising and a setting sun. But, when viewing such a depiction while in the company of George Washington, Franklin, the optimist, was certain that he was viewing a rising sun.
Ladies and gentlemen, my classmates being honored here tonight represent what true scholarship can accomplish. Specifically: good grades and the opportunity to further ones’ studies at prestigious yeshivot, seminaries, and universities in Israel and across the country.
In conclusion, those us of who work hard, are bound to succeed— a rising sun. Those of us who do not, will be bound from success— a setting sun. With Hashem’s help we, your rising sons… and daughters, will be bound for greatness. Thank you.