Delivered at this year's Commencement on May 27, 2017
I would like to first thank the alumni board for bestowing upon me this tremendous award. I recognize how fortunate I am to join past recipients of this award. I also want to thank my family. Victoria and I try and instill in our three children the importance of giving back, but that wouldn’t be possible without my family’s sacrifice. Every hour spent on NCS is an hour not spent with one’s family, so I want to thank my family for the sacrifices they have made for NCS so that I can stand before you today and accept this award. I would also like to thank my fellow board members and my partners on the Audit, Compliance and Policy Committee for their sacrifices and the hard work they have put into North Cross. Finally, I would like to recognize the contribution of staff members like Chris Proctor, Karen List and so many others who have done a remarkable job in improving the school. No school is perfect and we’re not done improving, but we have come a long way and we are moving in the right direction.
The last few weeks have felt like a graduation for me as well. As some of you know, after 10 years in Roanoke and many cancelled flights home, we’re moving to Charlotte, and I couldn’t think of a better way to go out then to receive this award. I was driving across Michigan in the rain when Lee Huff called me to let me know that I had been selected to receive this award. I had a couple of hours of driving ahead of me and my mind wandered to memories from long ago. I thought of 1978 when my family moved to Roanoke and enrolled me in NCS, playing on the lower school playground, the friendships from my years at NCS that are still so important to me, the teachers and coaches who pushed me to be more than I thought I could be, my own graduation 26 years ago, and the wonderful years our children have had at NCS.
And I can not say enough about the lengths Ms. Lucky went to to help our youngest son, Teddy. Teddy is 4 and won’t
remember this but he did not exactly ace his school interviews in Charlotte. However, he was given a second chance and Ms. Lucky took this project on as if he was her own child. You would have thought he was applying for the Apollo Space Program. He had to write his name, draw different shapes, cut in a circle and more - tough tasks for a four year old. Ms. Lucky did considerable research, and sent us long emails about the progress she and Teddy were making. She was deadly serious about his second interview - probably more serious than his parents. With considerable help from Ms. Lucky Teddy will be going to school with his sisters this fall. No one was more pleased than to hear that news than Ms. Lucky. And that’s what makes NCS so special. Ed Dickenson and Jennifer Lucky didn’t have to go the extra mile, particularly for a family that is leaving the school, but they did and that says a lot about them and North Cross. It is indeed a special place.
I’ll conclude and turn the focus back to the graduates by simply saying that I have gotten more out of this experience than the school has received from me. It has been challenging at times but well worth the effort. Thank you to all of those involved with the school for all that you do, taking such good care of our children, and this honor. It has been a privilege to serve NCS, it is in good hands, and I wish all members of the community the best in the years to come.