Monday, Dec. 1, 2008
Welcome and thank you for the invitation to join you this morning at this very special school of arts and sciences. It is a unique combination of college prep, social justice, arts, sciences, all in addition to being Waldorf inspired.
So it is very fitting that the school community chose to name itself after an individual—George Washington Carver—who overcame the loss of his parents, racism and poverty, who blossomed into a multi-faceted man who combined all the traits of this school into his life and career.
Mr. Carver struggled to gain acceptance into college because of the color of his skin and his poverty, but he persisted until he could further his education and then contributed to the education of many others. By his quiet courage, his example and his generosity, he lived a life dedicated to social justice.
As he said, "It is simply service that measures success."
In a letter describing his life, he wrote that he had an “inordinate desire for knowledge, and especially music, painting, flowers and the sciences, algebra being one of my favorite studies.
Mr. Carver also wrote that he would spend day after day in the woods alone to collect floral specimens and then plant them in his little garden. He also knitted and crocheted and made his own mittens and scarves as well as other handiwork. He was self reliant and could cook, do laundry, take shorthand and type. All very Waldorf inspired!
Mr. Carver was truly a Renaissance man! He knew that arts and sciences are both valuable and enriching to both the individual and society. While it is beneficial to work and study within a particular discipline, we need not restrict ourselves to one field or even to just the arts or just the sciences.
More will be said about Mr. Carver's many accomplishments later in the program.
Finally, before closing today, I wish to formally welcome this school to our portfolio of 42 options available to parents and families. Not every student learns in the same manner. Not every student enjoys the same interests. As a district, our mission is to prepare students for the rapidly changing 21st Century . . . to help them explore their interests, find their passion, and create a love for lifelong learning. These are qualities that will lead to future success, not just in a career, but to a rich personal and civic life.
We are committed to maintaining these options that allow our students to find the right path to success for themselves, that will ensure graduation and further preparation for life.
Here, at the school named for this noble man who succeeded despite the many odds against him, we should remember Dr. Carver's own thoughts about the preparation required to achieve one's goals:
"There is no short cut to achievement. Life requires thorough preparation—veneer isn't worth anything."
Sacramento City Unified School District