“Memory Play”: One of the literature selections presented in Grade 11 is The Glass Menagerie written by Tennessee Williams. In the opening scene, Tom, a main character says, “In memory everything seems to happen to music.” These memories presented by Tom are ones which have been influenced by his choices of what to remember and in what context these memories might have existed.
Notre Dame alumni (ae), families, and friends: to what music do you connect your memories of Notre Dame? What is the mood of your memories? Think for a minute before continuing to read. In each alumni newsletter, Mr. Barren includes some memories of the years here at Notre Dame. They reflect the memories of some former students but, probably, not you. What are your memories? What music is linked to these memories? If your class has conducted a reunion, do you share these memories with your classmates? Do you laugh a lot and, maybe, cry a little. What made Notre Dame so special in your life?
A few years ago, our Dean of Students, Mr. John Gormley died unexpectedly and I was asked to give the eulogy. My remarks were based on the song, “Seasons of Love” from the Broadway play, Rent. The words to the song, my musical memory, are:
“Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred moments so dear
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?”
Notre Dame Jr.-Sr. High School is celebrating 50 Years or 26,280,000 minutes. By what measure do we evaluate these valuable, personal yet communal minutes? The lyricist goes on to say:
“It’s time now, to sing out
Though the story never ends.
Let’s celebrate, remember a year
In the life of friends.”
This year we are celebrating 50 Years “in the life of friends.” That means sharing with approximately 2,500 alumni who have formed friendships as they prepared for their future lives within the context of a Catholic education. That reality is impressive.
Another song that should be a part of our alumni’s memories of Notre Dame is The Impossible Dream from the Broadway play, The Man of La Mancha. This is the music for our Alma Mater which states that at Notre Dame we dreamed of our futures and:
“Though some day we must leave all our friends
And must make it alone.
May the dreams that we have in our youth
Make us stronger for love.”
These are our memories and our inspiration in song. Hopefully, you have been made stronger for love during your years here.
Some of our alumni were here for six years, some for four, and others maybe only a year or two. You may have carved out six of the fifty years. Obviously, there were some or many students here before and after you. The important part is that you are a part of our 2,500 alumni, a small but powerful group of people. Only you can wear the Notre Dame Class Ring and I hope you wear or store your ring with great pride.
We have to give thanks to Monsignor Cawley and his vision of a Catholic high school in the Stroudsburg area. But as we are thanking him, we must also thank the many families, businesses, and individuals who have supported Notre Dame throughout the years. We have to thank our bishops, pastors, priests, the IHM Sisters, and the many lay teachers who have put forth their best effort to educate our students. Hopefully, they are a part of your memories and I would be interested in knowing the music that you connect with them.
The Class of 2018 will be finishing their ND memories in ten months; the Class of 2023 will just be beginning to create their memories. We want Class Rings for the Class of 2025 and 2050, and 2067 (our 100th Anniversary) but this celebration won’t occur without everyone’s financial support. We will be “kicking off” our annual Fund Drive in the fall and I hope and pray that all of our alumni, parents, and friends will aid us in whatever way possible.
Think of the most exciting, rallying song in your “play list” and sing that song out loud as you write that check or list your credit card information knowing that you have had a part in allowing future ND students the opportunity to belong to our ND family. Whether it’s a Christmas song or a “Three Dog Night Song”, Joy to the World would be in the giving spirit. We are being called to help. Please answer the call.