“What do you love about ACA?”
This was the question I asked myself and several of my classmates, and it is the question I would like you to consider as you listen.
I will now read you an excerpt from The Little Prince. Many of you will probably recognize it, as Mr. Clausen read it earlier this year. In this passage, the Prince meets a fox.
“It was then that the fox appeared. “Good morning,” said the fox. “Good morning,” the little prince responded politely, although when he turned around he saw nothing. “I am right here,” the voice said, “under the apple tree.” “Who are you?” asked the little prince, and added, “You are very pretty to look at.” “I am a fox,” the fox said. “Come and play with me,” proposed the little prince. “I am so unhappy.” “I cannot play with you,” the fox said. “I am not tamed.” “Ah! Please excuse me,” said the little prince. But, after some thought, he added: “What does that mean– ‘tame’?”
“It means to establish ties.” “‘To establish ties’?” (said the little prince). “Just that,” said the fox. “To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me…But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world… If you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life. I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all the others. Other steps send me hurrying back underneath the ground. Yours will call me, like music, out of my burrow. And then look: you see the grain-fields down yonder? I do not eat bread. Wheat is of no use to me. The wheat fields have nothing to say to me. And that is sad. But you have hair that is the color of gold. Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat…”
I feel that this school, this place, has tamed me. I have inhabited this school for seven years, and this coming year will be my eighth. I have established ties with this landscape: the grass on the high school field, the stairs and path that bisect it, the concrete blocks in this cafeteria, the window that looks out to the gym in the middle school. These are the places I have been close to for years. Evidence of me is here: my name is in yearbooks, my picture too, posters I have made remain on the bulletin boards, and colored pencils in the art room are shorter because of me. My face and words are in the memories of my friends and teachers. Even when I graduate, when I leave this place, I will be tied to it. The very fiber of my being makes this true. The way I think, the way I talk, and the way I feel have been formed by my experience here. I have been educated by everything inside this campus, by teachers, by friends, by the walk to the high school building in the morning.
This is what it means to be a student at ACA. It means to be known. There is a certain closeness that is produced by our small number and the difficult material we learn. It makes us capable of acknowledging each other, of knowing that with each of my classmates, I can find good conversation and comfort. Each person is special and important, even if we are distant. This characteristic of familiarity is what makes the community worth cultivating.
I know this place, and it knows me. We are friends. I hope, when you come to the end of your time here, you can say the same. This is what I offer you as president. I want to mend the flaws and accentuate the good parts with you all. I want to help you think how wonderful it has been, now that you have been tamed.
Thank you, and that is all.