Post By Mary Jo Jacobs
Mary Jane Reddington is retiring after thirty years of dedicated and distinguished service on New Rochelle’s Board of Education. On June 21st my youngest son graduated from Daniel Webster Magnet Elementary School (fifteen years after my oldest began kindergarten there) and all those attending the graduation had the distinct pleasure of hearing Mary Jane’s speech, which she said was to be her last as a board member.
Mary Jane has an authentic passion for education that has informed her service to the community. She is always the consummate and eloquent teacher, and the speech was impactful, moving and thought-provoking. I asked to share her speech and she gave me six beautifully handwritten pages, which are transcribed below. Her deep caring for children and enthusiasm for education inform every line.
I am delighted to be here at Webster School representing the New Rochelle Board of Education to bring greetings and congratulations to the class of 2013 – and to your outstanding administrators – Mr. Williams and Mrs. Passarelli - the dedicated and excellent faculty members, loving and caring parents, grandparents, and friends. Boys and girls, we are justifiably proud of your fine accomplishments these past 6 years.
How well you have been prepared here at Webster for the next step as you advance up the educational ladder to Middle School. You were able to master the difficult, and you have been taught to think, analyze, and concentrate. You have been introduced to the infinite inspiration and enchantment derived from the beauties of literature, art, music, and the fascination and challenges of history, geography, science, languages, math, and technology.
Today, I would like to give you a few brief words of advice which have been helpful in my own life. They can be summed up in this simple suggestion
Live one day at a time
This may seem trite and obvious, but you should take each day’s events and responsibilities calmly as they occur – whether you are studying, working, or playing. Do the task before you to the very best of your ability. Concentrate on today, and do not worry or fret about yesterday, or any past mistakes. Remember to Keep Your Eyes Front! Those who look back to yesterday will find only a fading sunset and will miss the bright dawn of tomorrow.
Living one day at a time sounds easier than it is because we become bogged down by worry, anxiety, self-pity, or a fear of failure.
Do not be discouraged by set-backs because in life, you must take the good with the bad – you will have mountain tops as well as valleys. You will not win every game nor will you receive and A on every exam – but remember to do your very best – try hard – believe in yourself. Don’t ever let doubt stand in your way.
Remember to look upon the newness of each day as a way to begin all over again. You can and will meet every challenge if you set your minds and goals high.
Ralph Waldo Emerson’s words are inspirational – “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path, and leave a trail.”
My sincere congratulations on a job extremely well-done, enjoy a happy, safe, fun-filled summer, and in September, I wish you three rewarding and successful middle school years – another significant beginning for you along your educational journey!!
Thank you Mary Jane – for leaving a trail for the many educators, board members, administrators, parents, and students you have impacted while modeling the value of education, respectful and enchanting civic discourse, and a warmth and caring that has marked your years of service to New Rochelle’s community.
Mary Jo Jacobs is currently a candidate for County Legislator in District 10 covering Eastchester, New Rochelle & Tuckahoe and has been a leader in New Rochelle’s SEPTA, PTA Council, and Daniel Webster PTA.