Graduates urged to be team players

Published 10:08 am Thursday, May 31, 2018

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

“True fulfillment comes when we work to help others,” said Class of ’18 senior class president Jackie Adan. As Pelham High School’s 2018 graduation began, Adan gave her remarks. Leading with a few jokes, she quickly dove into a powerful personal narrative about her greatest lessons of senior year.

Adan suffered an injury during a strenuous soccer team workout. Sharing with the audience her glorious plans for her senior year soccer team, Adan revealed that she was pushing herself to attain her goals when she said, “I pushed myself right down a flight of bleachers.”

Her injuries were massive and her recovery was long and painful. Adan’s take-away from her experience consisted of deep reflection. Once her personal goals were pushed aside by her injury, she was able to see the collective more clearly, stating that she learned the most valuable lessons and became a better friend, teammate and person.

“If our motivation is to empower others, then we will never truly fail,” Adan said. This young woman displays an uncanny wisdom for a graduating senior. Suffering through her season of injury shifted her perspective.  Her closing was truly poignant.

“As we transition into a new season of life, may we strive for fulfillment rather than glory,” said Adan.

Adan’s words state plainly that realizing promise, happiness and satisfaction is better than finding personal glory—fame or honor won by personal achievement. The life lesson here is clear and mirrors a piece published in this year’s literary magazine by a young man who also has a keen sense of purpose at a very young age.

When strong teams struggle, coaches often take them back to the basics. Perhaps those are humbling practices—doing the work of the novice. Beginning again often provides fresh perspective and a reminder of what fulfillment means.

As the PHS Class of 2018 strikes out into the world to begin again, may they position themselves as team players with remarkable work ethics. May they find themselves part of a larger purpose—discovering joy and inspiration in doing for others as they seek their own directions.