The mother-daughter duo of Mary and Catherine Lammert presented John Bapst students with a pair of audience-centered speeches for the Winter Convocation on January 23, 2013 on the theme of living in the moment.
Mary Lammert is a long-time faculty member in the Science Department and Key Club Co-Advisor. Catherine Lammert, a 2008 John Bapst graduate, acted as long-term substitute for Dick Soucie this winter, making them the first mother and daughter set teaching at John Bapst. Catherine also serves as John Bapst’s JV Girls Soccer coach.
Their speeches are below.
Enjoy the Present – Mary Lammert
Delivered to the John Bapst student body at Winter Convocation 2013.
Before I start this I’d like you to do me a favor: close your eyes and keep them closed – but don’t go to sleep!
Now that they are closed, go back in time, think back to kindergarten. With your eyes still closed, think back to Christmas or Chinese New Year the year you were 8. Now think back to just a few years ago – to eighth grade. Ok, now open your eyes.
Chances are that most of you remembered – doing things with your friends, a fun activity, or the people you were with – not a particular homework assignment, learning the letter C, or even what you got that year for Christmas.
I’ve taught for many years now and have raised three daughters who have all graduated from Bapst. The message I would like to bring you today is this – to enjoy who you are, take advantage of the opportunities around you, and enjoy the present.
Some of the saddest speeches I have ever heard were valedictorians or salutetorians saying that if they had to to it over again they would do it different. They would have spent their four short years in high school not just striving for perfection in the classroom.
DO NOT GET ME WRONG – I AM NOT SAYING YOU SHOULD JUST PARTY YOUR WAY THROUGH LIFE and not study.
You should study hard, you should work hard to learn, you should challenge yourself – but – you should do all these things to become a better, more well-rounded, educated person; not just for the ‘grade’. Some students spend all four years of high school studying constantly, worrying about grades, doing volunteer work just to put them it a resume and fretting about getting into a particular college. They never enjoy being in here in high school! They keep thinking they will enjoy life when they reach their goal – a top college, the perfect job, being wealthy. Having any of those things doesn’t guarantee happiness.
Right now you are all high school students – do high school stuff and enjoy being here! If there is a dance – go to it! If you don’t know how to dance, this is the time to learn. Volunteer to work at Step-Up Day! It’s a great way to meet new people.
If you’re asked to speak at Back to School night or an assembly, do it! If you don’t speak before others when you are young, you may miss out on opportunities later in life just because you are too nervous. Now is the time to overcome some of your fears. If it’s Valentine’s Day, send a Crush can, fill out your ‘love match’ – who knows – you may meet the love of your life, or at least a date to the prom. If you’re asked to be a ball person at a soccer game do it! The exercise will be good for you. Look at all the clubs, teams and organizations here at school. Join some! Take advantage of these experiences that are available to you while you are here! When there is a game – go to it – there won’t be high school games to go to once you’re graduated. Sit with your friends, have fun, cheer on your classmates. Better yet join a team!
I know you’ll find this hard to believe, but there were no organized sports for me when I was growing up because I was a girl. Ladies – take advantage of the opportunities that you have that were not there for me. I played my first softball game the day after I graduated from college! Play now – don’t wait.
Seniors in particular – spend time HERE with your friends, you only have a few short months to enjoy each other. Come May, you will go your separate ways, and your time together will be over. Don’t rush up to college friends to party with them. – that time will come for you sooner than you know. And of course, when that time comes, that does NOT include drugs, alcohol or sex.
During your last few months here at Bapst – join the stage crew for the spring musical – this may be your last chance to be a part of a play. Do track, you might just find that you like running or throwing a discus. You might also make new friends, get into shape and even get a tan for the prom. Join the soft ball team – you just might hit a grand slam like I did at my first at bat. Take time to just hang out with your friends, make memories, enjoy being part of such a great group of young people.
Juniors – Try something new! Move out of your comfort zone.
One of my daughters friends, Chris Fogler, – was and still is a very good at soccer and track. He is on his college track team and runs at the national level. During his senior year he decided to play football for the first time in his life. His parents worried about him getting injured and worried that an injury might ruin his chance of running in college. He played anyway. He definitely wasn’t the star of the team that year but he did learn to catch a ball while running down a field, he did score a touchdown, and was a member of the team that won the state championship that year.
Join our fencing club! Where else can you learn a totally cool sport for free? Run for an officer position in one of the clubs or organizations here at school – leadership skills are honed by experiences that you have now.
Sophomores – make some new friends – if there is someone in your class that you don’t know, go talk to them before or after class, eat with them – who knows it could lead to LOVE, you may make a new friend for life! You’ll never know unless you try. There are wonderful people in your class, get to know them.
Freshman – don’t wait until next year to join a club, make a new friend, or try a sport – you ARE in high school now – Enjoy being in high school! Do it now!
International students – you’ve travelled half way around the world to be here with us. Make the trip worthwhile, become a part of the Bapst community! Sleep at night and stay awake during the day! Participate in school activities – let us get to know you and learn about you and your culture. We’re not the BIG CITY that some of you want, but we are worth knowing and enjoying. There are fun things to do here in Bangor, Maine – explore the area to learn about its beauty.
Then after you have studied hard in high school, have lived the life of a high schooler to its fullest, move on.
When you get to college – make your parents a nervous wreck like my daughters did. Travel abroad for a semester – watching two daughters fly off to Australia, and one fly off to South Africa was gut wrenching!
Once you go away – explore all there is to explore. Experience the beauty of our beautiful world. (But do Facebook home at least once a week so your folks know you are alive and ok.)
Do things outside your comfort zone, even if it gives your parents more grey hairs
- Molly, my youngest daughter, went down in a shark cage off the coast of South Africa. She sent pictures of sharks swimming so close to her cage that she could touch them. I was just a bit freaked out when I learned that she had done that.
- Catherine decided to switch to rugby her senior year in college. She loved it, but I was a nervous wreck every time I watched her play. Her sisters, on the other hand were very impressed when she ‘clothes lined’ a girl on the other team.
Actually, Catherine is right here!
And she would like to say something to you too…..
Put Down Your Cell Phones – Catherine Lammert ’08
Delivered to the John Bapst student body at Winter Convocation 2013.
I am happy with the life I’ve lived. Obviously there are some things that I would liked to have changed or have purposefully blocked from my memory, like the time I accidentally walked across my college campus with a towel on my head; but looking back over the experiences in high school and college I can honestly say that they were awesome. I laughed, cried, loved, experienced losses, and embarrassed myself more times than I can count. I have traveled half way around the world, hiked next to volcanoes, and looked up with amazement at the ceiling of the Sistine chapel. I have experienced wins, losses and heartbreaks with teams, trembled in fear while looking at my 300 pound rugby opponent, trembled even more before getting my English papers back from Mr. Emerson, been to Emirates Stadium in London… and got kicked out of Emirates Stadium. In short, I’ve lived.
But yet, I’m not very much older than you, and, let’s face it, I’m a college graduate living with my mom and dad. So what gives me the right to talk to you guys about life and success. But, if you define success not by how much money you make or what kind of stuff you have and instead define it by how many happy memories you have made, I feel like I have been wildly successful. So at this very early point in my life and experiences, I have one piece of advice for you……Put down your cell phones.
Put down your cell phones and listen to your teachers-they are more than just people giving you tests and quizzes to make your life miserable, although they are very good at that. Everything they do is done ensure that you are fully prepared to wherever life may lead you to. They want you to succeed just as they wanted me to succeed five years ago.
Put down your cell phones and take the time to really talk with your family. They are the people most likely to stick with you in your future. Take the time to talk with your grandparents or other relatives. They have stories that they will take with them to the grave if you don’t take the time to hear them. And although these stories might be longer than 140 characters, they are the best links to your past.
Put down your cell phones and talk with your friends. In the future you won’t remember the snap chats they sent you. What you will remember are the experiences you had with them. Watching remember the titans on a three hour bus ride to Presque Isle, playing the role of the trees in the Wizard of Oz just for the fun of it, (yes I was a tree in a play here and Mrs. Burns made us stand on buckets), winning the state track meet three times, and losing the eastern Maine final soccer match.
During the second semester of my senior year in college, I decided to take a Buddhist ethics class because, well I’ll be honest, I thought it would be a good GPA booster. Moving past that minor detail, it was probably the class that I got the most out of. So take what I learned from that class. Live in the present moment. That’s where the memories are being made……Put down your cell phones.