by Mary Redmond ’14
Good Morning Pomfret! I am going to talk about character today. My name is Mary Redmond and I am a PG student from Scarborough, Maine basically I am a repeat senior. Last winter I started looking at prep schools because I did not feel as though I was ready for college. I thought another year before college would be very influential, specifically working on my time management, becoming more mature, and punctual. Coming from a public school environment I did not really know what to expect at boarding school. I was thinking the experience might be similar to Summer camps that I attended in the past. The first couple of weeks at Pomfret did feel like a summer camp, but I quickly found out Pomfret was not going to be another camp.
After settling in to a rigorous school routine that I really was not use to, I was taking notice on how all of the teachers and coaches took great interest in myself and All of the students; I saw how much they cared and wanted everyone to succeed and do well. In my experience with adults you can’t fake caring about how someone is doing or pretend to be enthusiastic when you really aren’t. I quickly learned that the adults that surround me here at Pomfret are all people of great character. They are passionate about influencing kids positively. Character is a quality that you cannot measure by intelligence or by one’s wealth. Character is the core of who you are and what you stand for. You can’t fake honesty or loyalty or doing the right thing. In Martin Luther King’s I Have A Dream speech, he says, “he wants a nation where his children are not judged by the color of their skin but the content of their character.”
I believe an excellent definition of integrity is doing the right thing even when doing the right thing might affect you adversely. I recently finished a book titled Mind Gym, which is about the psychological side of athletics and mental toughness. Towards the latter part of the book it talked about how people will remember you as an athlete. The first reflection people will have of you is your character and how you played the game. Did you have good sportsmanship? Are you a good teammate? Did you listen to your coaches? Secondly people may or may not remember your abilities or how good you were. Sports only last for a short part of your life, and everyone leaves the game eventually. Some may have had the ability and played a lot longer in their lives, and some athletes, no matter how hard they worked will never reach that level. Both people can be successful. I believe success is a peace of mind of having no regrets because you did your best as an athlete and a person. When your time of athletic competition comes to an end, how do you want your friends, the coaches you’ve had, former teammates, and those you competed against to remember you? What would they say about your character? What would you want them to say? I remember many years ago my grandmother telling me: Not only do sports build character, but reveal it also.
This is the same in professional life; people will know and remember you for your character first instead of your nice house, or car or great wealth. We are all renters of what we have, but your character and integrity you own. You may own these material items now, but in reality when you pass you leave them behind. Just a week ago Mr. Diaz gave his Chapel Speech and he touched on how Donald Sterling the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers became a billionaire but will only be remembered as a racist man with no character. Your physical wealth and what you own are all temporary and are not nearly as important as who you are which lasts forever. All of the teachers that have been involved in my life this year could be making more money in the private sector, but they make a choice everyday to fulfill a purposeful life by helping with the growth and development of young adults. Teachers don’t teach to get wealthy instead they do it for the passion and love of helping young students. The teachers at Pomfret do a lot more than just teach here, but are also coaches, counselors, mentors, dorm parents, shuttle us around, and Mr. Clinton even washed our softball team’s laundry before. The faculty at Pomfret go far beyond what a teaching job usually entails. About a week ago my dad was supposed to be drive me somewhere but his car broke down and he was unable to take me where I needed to go, Ms. Brooks offered to let me use her car to get where I needed to go, even without her knowing what kind of driver I am.
I feel very fortunate and blessed to have been able to spend a year at Pomfret and all my classmates should feel extremely fortunate to be surrounded by great people of character here, like Mr. Clinton, Ms. Brooks, Mr. Diaz , Dr. Tsemo, Chanzo, Mr. Burke, Mr. Davis, Ms. Zavista, The Davise’-s, the Fisher’s, even Mr. Alverez, who is a character who has great character too, and every faculty member and coach that has had an influence on my character development and growth; All great people that have the best interests of all the students. They don’t do what they do for the money, they do it because they want to help young adults become successful people. My hope for the younger students is that you all live a purposeful life with integrity just like your mentors at Pomfret School. I want to thank everyone who’s been a part of my life this year, you made it a great experience. I have a lot of great memories of this school year, and I have made friendships that I know will last a lifetime. I want to wish everybody success in the future. Thank you Pomfret.