May 29, 2020 shona

Lise Goddard’s Final Chapel / Assembly
May 28, 2020

The theme of my announcement today is moving on and passing on.
Passing IT on. Your legacy.

I’m here in one of Midland’s sacred spaces, the Chapel, a non-denominational space where Carl Munger (Midland’s 3rd Head of School) said,
“If kids can learn to listen to each other, then maybe God has a chance.”

This place means a lot to me. And it means a lot to you.
It is a place that remembers footsteps and that holds the record of every Midland student who has ever spent at least a year here.

I’ve had the privilege of spending 17 years at Midland. To put this into perspective…
The Goddards came to Midland —
Seniors, when you were a year old,
Juniors, the year you turned one,
Sophomores and 9th graders, before you were born,
and some Faculty members, before you were in high school.
I could have graduated from Midland four times, and come back for one more year.
Which means I share something with every Midland senior…
and every one of you who has finished a year here…
Every one of you who feels uncertain about the future…

I know a few things about this incredible place.
I know that a Midland education never ends. It just changes throughout your lives.
It gives you something as strong as the Mighty Oak itself.
It gives you resourcefulness.
It gives you appreciation for the natural world and for each other.

Passing it on.
What is your legacy here at Midland?
What will you do when you move on from here?
What are you meant to do?

Know that your time at Midland matters to the institution and is remembered.
Your time is recorded in the Chapel Boards,
from the four-year Seniors’ first year,
to all the other years that brought us where we are now.
Right now, B.G. Kresse ’68 is making the Board for 2019-20, for all of you who came this year.

I’m going to share a secret with you. A time capsule. A portal into the past.
My single favorite surface on campus.
This well-rounded step has been crossed and imprinted by every Midlander since long before my time here.
I made it my ritual to step into this well-worn surface every time I walked out of Chapel.

To me, this ritual was a metaphor for following in the footsteps of the Mighty Oaks who came before me.
And now will come after me.
It was one of my rituals for regularly connecting with this place and its lineage, of which we all are a part.

So, rituals… What are yours?
I encourage you all to find some sacred places and sacred times to pause, reflect, and wonder at the challenges and opportunities ahead of you.
Take time to think about the legacy YOU want to leave.

There is an element of “calling” in what we pass on, as in asking the question and listening with your heart,
What am I meant to do?

There is an element of choice and commitment in making the time to open the invitation to the universe:
What do I need?
What does the universe need?
What do we need to do together?

There is an element of spirituality, as in recognizing that this conversation happens on a different plane,
one that connects you with where you come from, who you are, and who you will become when you move on from this place.

Sometimes we take these steps alone.
And sometimes we take them together.
We are ready. We are Mighty Oaks!

By Lise Goddard, Dean of Studies
(spoken at Midland’s virtual Assembly)