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Last night were inductions for the National Honor Society at the high school. I am very proud to say that my oldest son was among those that were inducted – yet another stop on the road of mom tears of pride in the final weeks of his senior year. While others on the stage may have reveled in the honor, for TJ it was particularly sweet moment, one that was a long time coming. That moment on that stage represented a lot of hard work on his behalf, a lot of learning how to advocate for himself and a lot of anxiety and stress.
Webster’s dictionary defines “tenacity” as the quality or state of being tenacious. “Tenacious” is defined as persistent in maintaining, adhering to, or seeking something valued or desired. TJ exhibited those qualities many times over in his pursuit of membership in the NHS. You see, last year, he was invited to apply but declined membership despite the fact that almost all of his close friends and classmates were admitted. On appeal, he was told by the selection committee that he would have to work harder and demonstrate the qualities of character, leadership, scholarship and community service that were required for membership and if his grades were acceptable, he would be invited to apply again the following year. While I personally respectfully disagreed with the committee’s decision to deny his appeal last year, he took their words to heart and did something that I am proud to say, I don’t think I personally would have done. He got down in the trenches and worked along side his friends who were members of the NHS and attended and participated in almost every NHS activity that the chapter held. He got up early on a weekend morning to bake pies for food baskets, moved turkeys for the same food baskets, helped make the food baskets and spend a whole day driving around Rutland County to deliver them. He participated in their other fundraisers as well and did his best to prove that he was worthy to be considered among their ranks. This year, when the selection letters were sent, he received his letter. He applied once again for admission and once again, he was denied admission. He was devastated. He was simply told that he did not have a “majority” of the committee’s vote. Undaunted and once again showing character far better than his mother and beyond his years, he wrote the following letter to the committee respectfully asking them to reconsider his application.
To whom it may concern,
Being aware that I have not been accepted into the National Honor Society this year, I, Thomas Heffernan, write this letter in hopes of presenting my case. Being denied acceptance the previous year, I have re-applied after a year of working hard to prove myself as deserving of admittance. I have worked fervently with the current NHS members and advisor to attend as many functions as possible, working around my part time job and numerous AP classes, in order to help the organization, as was asked of me when I was not accepted last year. The letter I received after being rejected suggested that I prove myself as deserving of acceptance, through furthering myself in the categories examined by the committee including: leadership, service, and character. Working around my job and academics I have managed to, in my opinion, strengthen myself in these areas. In the area of service I continued membership in our school’s Key Club organization, as I have since sophomore year, totalling over 15 hours of community service attributed to this group. In addition to this I attended numerous National Honor Society functions such as apple pie baking, the NHS fundraiser dance, food basket preparations and food basket delivery, and carnation assembly and delivery. I did this in an attempt to demonstrate my leadership, as I prompted other members who were not admitted to help at many functions, I provided my own free time in order to service the NHS, and I also feel that my working so closely with the National Honor Society after being rejected admission speaks highly of my character; specifically taking into account that I have spoken with many of the current senior members who have told me that they would not have the same level of respect towards the organization I hold had they not been admitted. Despite my rejection from the NHS last year I was able to get admissions to amazing schools such as Rochester Institute of Technology, Villanova, Northeastern University, Boston University, University of Vermont, and others; thus at this point my admission to the NHS holds no title for me to put on a college resumé, but would allow me one pleasure I would greatly appreciate which would be to walk with many of my close friends at graduation as a member of the same organization. I have worked extremely hard this year to put anything I may have done to offend the committee, or those who scored me, in my past, as I hope many are able to see, and to further myself as a person and be a paragon of the values of honesty, trustworthiness, character, and integrity I hold dear. Taking the advice I received from both Madame Sullivan and the committee to heart I put my best foot forward and gave myself up to display my worth to the National Honor Society and I truly hope that it allows me to be granted admission during my final year at Mill River High School. I appreciate that you have taken the time to re-review my application and give me a second chance to demonstrate what I have learned over the past year, I eagerly await your response.
Thomas J Heffernan
Tom and I have tried very hard to teach our boys to advocate for themselves and to respectfully push forward for what they believe they have earned and when they perceive they are not being treated fairly. Having a mother who is an attorney they understand that they will not always win, but they always must try. There are two sides to every story and sometimes the story someone is presented with is not an accurate portrayal of the true facts. I am very proud to say that when I read this letter, it brought tears to my eyes and I told my son that no matter the decision of the faceless committee that would decide his fate, to me and his father and to those who do truly know him, we are very proud and feel as if any rejection was the association’s loss. To give you an idea of what was going on at the time, this letter was written while he was in the midst of studying for four Advanced Placement exams. He met with the NHS advisor to review the reasons for being rejected and took that information to heart while writing this letter.
So, you see, while others on the stage last night were proud and happy as well they should be of this accomplishment in their high school career, for our son it was a hard fought battle where he learned more than the attributes of scholarship, leadership, service and character. He learned what it’s like to succeed and demonstrate that you are worthy against adversity. He has learned more than many of his fellow classmates because of this experience. The lessons learned and the experience will follow him throughout the years to come.
Congratulations TJ – we are so very, very proud of this accomplishment because we know how hard you worked for it and how much it truly means to you.
- NHS induction helps students become better people (sailorslog2013.wordpress.com)
- National Honor Society Inducts Juniors (dhsprincipal.wordpress.com)
- Our Own Chapter: A Look Inside GEHS’ National Honors Society (babysimpsonblog.wordpress.com)
It is so hard to believe that TJ will be graduating in a few weeks, making prom even more tear jerking. I warned him that this would be the first of many tear filled events for his mother over the coming weeks.
To make a special day even better, it was a historic event in the Heffernan house. It marks the first and last time that all three boys attended the same prom. Here is Tyler and his date
And last, but not least, Tim with prom date.
Well, maybe a little more than a chill. The day after I packed away all the winter turtlenecks and heavy sweaters, the temperatures dipped into the low 30s and there were snow flurries flying around on the hill this morning. The temperatures last night dipped down low enough to have frost and freeze warnings. Hard to believe that when we were at church on Sunday for the May crowing that it was a beautiful spring day and we saw our first finches at the feeders.
The crowning was a little less than traditional, since Mary was already wearing a crown of sorts — a robin had nested at the top of the statute. So the flower crown was carefully placed in her hands instead.
As we prepare to head up to Winooski to listen to Tim perform with his classmates in the All State Chorus, on this beautiful spring Friday afternoon, I thought I would share some of the photos from Bistro.
It has been a wonderful, musical year and I’m very, very proud of my vocalist. In the words of his brother — he has the voice of an angel.
The entire group of performers taking a photo opportunity during rehearsal on Thursday afternoon.
There have been way too many days since we had rain. Things were very dry as evidenced by the numerous fire hazard warnings.Yesterday and last night we received some much needed rain. Too bad it cancelled the All State parade that everyone was looking forward to seeing.
This morning however, the flowers all stood with their rain drops showing.
A friend’s friend posted this on Facebook. I simultaneously was laughing and crying because it’s exactly what I would say and what moms want. I had to share.
Thanks, Mary Carpenter for the great words!
So I’ve decided to be proactive and tell my kids what I want for mother’s day. Here it is:
What I Want for Mother’s Day
Mother’s Day is coming up, and I thought I should tell you what I want. This way there’s no guilty panic or last minute purchasing of flowers at the closest gas station. So, this is what I want, this year and every year after; it’s pretty simple really.
I want you to be a decent human being.
I want you to be who you are, but don’t be an asshole.
I want you to work hard at everything you do, because life is too short not to give it everything you’ve got.
I want you to ask for help when you need it.
I want you to help others when they need it.
I want you to learn how to cook, do your own laundry, pay your bills and know how to clean a bathroom.
When you screw up, and you will, more than once, I want you to own it, because it’s the screw-ups that make the victories sweeter.
I want you to travel, because the world is huge and you are one part of it.
I want you to know that even when we hate each other, I will never stop loving you.
I want you to play nicely with others.
I want you to feed your curiosity.
I want you to find a way to do what you love, and realize that that might look different than you originally thought.
I want you to respect every human being’s right to be who they are.
I want you to sometimes be more interested in someone else than in yourself.
I want you to know that you are flawed and you are extraordinary. There is no one else like you.
I want you to know that I would lay down my life for you in Lily Potter fashion any day of the week.
I want you to realize how lucky you are every once in awhile even if only for an instant.
I want you to know love, even if it means getting hurt.
I want you to relax and not feel guilty about it.
I want you to know life can be brutally hard sometimes.
I want you to know that you can choose happiness even when the dark side offers you cookies.
And I wouldn’t mind breakfast in bed.
When you’re in school, it is referred to as “spring fever” or “senioritis”. The feeling that things are winding down and should be over already. The itchiness that comes along with the sunshine and warm temperatures. The desire for the laziness and freedom of summer and all that comes along with it. It has been a hectic school year for all of us here with lots and lots of things going on — one son completing senior year and his college search, one driving and working through the difficult junior year course load and the youngest busy with music and coming into his own high school career as a sophomore.
Soon, very soon in fact, will be course selections for next year for the younger two who will be a junior and a senior next year. Right around the corner is the prom for all three boys –the first and last time that will happen (with all the preparation that goes along with tuxedo rentals and corsage flowers), the various awards nights at school coming up on the schedule for music, theater, academics and seniors. That will all be followed closely by college orientation, exams and graduation in June.
I am torn between wishing that time would slow to a crawl and preserve those precious moments left before one leaves for college and my anticipation of all those wonderful events coming up in the next few weeks to celebrate lots of good things.
Things are squared away nicely with TJ having made his college choice and knowing that he is happy and looking forward to the start of a whole new chapter in his life. Tim will be spending a good chunk of the summer abroad experiencing places that I have never been to in my life. Tyler will be working and starting his college application process with lots of essay writing mixed into his summer. Adventures will abound this summer.
The coming weeks will be filled with lots of fun, laughter, pride and tears of happiness. Looking forward to every minute of it.
May 1st was proclaimed by President Eisenhower in 1958 to be Law Day, recognizing the role that law played in the creation of our country and what sets it apart from other countries in the world. In 1961 the holiday was officially recognized by the Congress. It was created as an affront to communism during the Cold War since May 1st is traditionally referred to as May Day and not usually meaning flowers and springtime, but rather reflecting upon the role of laborers or workers and their struggles. Law Day, while an official holiday is not a holiday that is widely celebrated in this country outside of legal circles. Law schools and bar associations may commemorate the day with various programs or celebrations. For instance, Seton Hall Law School, the school that I attended, had a traditional Law Day Mass and celebration every May 1st. Perhaps the most distinct memory I have associated with Law Day is an attorney that I worked for through law school and after when I became a lawyer. He would always appear in the office on Law Day donning a lovely boutonniere purchased for him by his wife, to commemorate Law Day. After I passed the bar, he would bring a flower of sorts to the office for me. It is a memory that will always be associated with the day and reminds me of someone who had a very important role in my life.
Happy Law Day!
- Watch an informative webinar to celebrate Law Day. (privacydatasystems.wordpress.com)
- Kevin Fitzgerald: This year’s Law Day about equality for all people (pantagraph.com)
- State Bar Arizona Provides Free Legal Clinics On National Law Day (tucsonweekly.com)
- Celebrate Law Day – May 1 (lotl.wordpress.com)
Look for these upcoming events presented by the Wallingford Historical Society. More information will follow.
May 21, 2013 – 6 p.m. – Learn How to Navigate Ancestry.com – Tim Heffernan @ Wallingford Town Hall.
June 25, 2013 - Paul Harris and the Birth of Rotary - Fred A. Carvin @ Wallingford Rotary Club
These events are free and open to all.
This whole college thing is brand spanking new to us.Since I still have the memories of how hard it was to schedule a college visit last year in August, I thought it best to secure a hotel room for move-in weekend. Who plans this far ahead?
Last year, we tried to visit a college in New York state and our days magically corresponded to move-in days for the new students so we wound up staying 1/2 hour away because that was the closest we could get to where we wanted to be. Booking a hotel room for a different reason, it occurred to me to ask about the rates for rooms during the move-in weekend in August. Figuring we could work on planning what we were doing. While I didn’t think I needed to book a room in April for August, obviously I was mistaken. Evidently, lots of other people plan well ahead, since most of the hotels were already booked.
A lot has been going on in the past couple weeks. While I have intended to write here and there, something else always seemed to take priority. Yesterday, at a Rotary meeting (yes incidentally that is one of the things that has been happening) I was asked to speak about myself. Who am I? What do I do? What would I like others to know about me? These are all interesting questions and came out in a brief 10-15 minute talk. Naturally, I spoke of my professional background, what kind of legal work I do, what areas of the law interest me and explained the different types of things that I do. I mentioned writing, my blog and of course my family.
While lying in bed during the wee hours of the morning this morning I thought about all the things that I didn’t say (and maybe should have). After all they are a part of me too. I didn’t mention that I love to cook and bake (cinnamon buns in the oven as I type this–a perk for those men of mine resulting from my insomnia), I didn’t mention that I love to garden. I didn’t mention where I hoped to be going in five or ten years or a whole lot about where I’d been. They know a lot about me (enough for the purposes of why I was asked to speak) but they really don’t know me. They don’t know that hearing my son sing makes my heart swell about 100 times its normal size with pride and seeing my boys interact with one another, joking, laughing –sharing brother things does the same. They don’t know that I like to take pictures and since I’ve been doing that more regularly I view the world through a different lens (pardon the pun). They don’t know that it took me most of my life to come to appreciate and live with my curly hair and that we peacefully co-exist these days.They don’t know that the person that looks back at me in the mirror is completely different than the image of me that resides in my mind. They don’t know the things that keep me awake at night or the things that can bring me to tears from just the thought. When they asked who am I? It was way more than I could explain in a few minutes and in fact it might take me a lifetime to figure that one out.
Thinking about who you are, where you’ve come from and where you are headed is a good thing to do, whether you have to speak about yourself in public or not. It lets you take stock and see those things that you like about yourself and those things that you want to change. It definitely lets you see where your priorities lie and gives you a really good sense of all the things and people in your life for which you should be thankful.