Graduation 2015 Remarks: Dr. Jason Heisserer, Head of School


At Crossroads, we are smart and good. We value being ourselves and having a voice. We cultivate habits of empathy and listening as a way to honor the selves and the voices of others. As a school community, as a network of mutuality, we craft our daily experiences so that we have opportunities to practice all of these things, to practice being smart and good, to practice being ourselves and using our voices, and to practice being empathetic and good listeners.

I have been wondering this spring, though, about how all of this translates into the world beyond our community and our campus. I have been wondering how a Crossroads graduate transfers these values into a post-secondary experience and beyond. It is my thoughts about how the Class of two thousand 15 might do this that I offer as my reflections today.

As the Head of School, I am confident that you are prepared academically to meet the challenges that your colleges and universities will map out for you as part of your major and minor courses of study. I am also confident that you are curious, passionate, and hard working enough to meet the demands of these maps even when the classes, the professors, or your peers challenge your commitment. After listening to you talk about yourselves, each other, and your class as a whole at the Senior Potluck, I believe that you also possess the insight and the wisdom to keep yourselves safe and kind and honest, and to impact, to challenge, and to change the world.

You will be handed early on a list of requirements for your degree and for your major. This is the map I referred to a moment ago. These requirements may range from the mundane and the frustrating to the exciting and the energizing. There will be competition, you will have to be prioritize, and, I hope, you will be challenged, not only by your studies, but by situations that test who you are and who you want to be.

Knowing that you will be handed this map, I hope that your experience at Crossroads, that your smartness and your goodness, that your insight into yourselves, will provide you with a compass as well. It is this compass, not the map of requirements you must meet, that will carry you through college and beyond.

The compass to which I refer is a metaphor for your personal mission, it is a metaphor for who you want to be and how you intend to impact, challenge, or change the world. When you are clear about who you are, who you hope to become, and how your community and the world can be better for your good work in it, you will be able to make your college major work for you. So please do not limit yourself to naming what you will study alone. I ask that you declare more than your major by aligning your personal mission, your personal desire for impacting, challenging, and changing the world with your course of study and learning.

This might sound bigger than I intend, so I’d like to give you an example of what I mean. It’s the difference between saying, “I am majoring in business” and saying, “I am learning business management to help organize people so that they can work better.” It’s the difference between saying, “My major is education” and saying, “I believe that all young people have a right to quality schools and teachers, so I am studying education.” It is the difference between saying, “I’m a biology major” and saying “I’m learning about human biology to eliminate cancer.” It’s the difference between saying, “I’m double majoring in Computer Science and Political science” and saying, “I’m learning Computer Science and Political Science to rebuild how citizens engage with their governments.”

In my mind and in my experience at Crossroads College Preparatory School, you are particularly prepared for understanding what I mean, for making choices about your personal mission and your major because you are smart and good, because you are individuals with strong voices, and because your habits of empathy and listening will take you from this stage and into a college or university and into your Good Work beyond that where I am confident that you will impact, challenge, and change the world.

I want to thank the Crossroads community for  its support of this graduating class and for its support of the faculty and staff who have supported them while they have been here. I want to thank and congratulate the parents, family members, and friends who are here to honor this class today. And I want to thank and congratulate the Class of Two Thousand 15 that has, once again, demonstrated that you can go anywhere from here.