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May 20, 2014

Success Usually Begins at Home

Harry M. Covert

It has been rather entertaining to hear of numerous graduation speakers declining invitations after a few students of various institutions put up objections.


These venomous actions from the alleged scholars can be somewhat embarrassing to secondary schools and those institutions of supposed higher learning.


Yes, times have changed sharply. The day once was when school officials selected speakers they wanted and didn’t give a hoot-in-hell to the opinions of those who demurred.


Commencement speaking is quite a business. Locally, Hood College sure came up with a fine orator, television journalist Claire Shipman. She has an inside track on the latest news and events from her own professionalism. It doesn’t hurt that her husband is the present White House press secretary.


Graduation day on all levels is an exciting and congratulatory time. It is a nice thing perhaps to bring in well-known chatterers. The purpose, of course, is simple and at least three-fold. First is to motivate, encourage and send off alumni to the cold, cold world. Secondly, to enjoy a little extra public attention and press. Thirdly, alert all to the fund-raising needs of the present and future.


Stars of the day are the wearers of caps and gowns, not the recipients of honorary doctorates and speaking fees.


If speakers are bound and determined to be found, the Frederick County field is wide open with outstanding notables, generally unsung heroes, who know what they’re doing.


This is no criticism of Hood College’s guest. Why not consider local leaders who have been successful? They are already excellent in all areas of the literary field, business and banking, farming, home construction, highway contractors, ministers of all denominations, school teachers of all levels, consummate musicians, esteemed scientists from Fort Detrick and the list of homegrown people, known and unknown, is readily available.


If the academic sages truly want to energize their charges for the coming days and challenges, why not give a look to the talented already present and fruitful.


There is no need for any ectoplasm on this issue. Just consider the wisdom that abounds in Maryland’s largest county. The accomplishments are staggering in the medical and dental professions, insurance, restaurants, hotels. The list goes on and gender isn’t slighted.


Graduates should be hearing from the likes of:


·        Dr. Keyla Torres, periodontist of state renown.


·        Dr. Harvey Levy, internationally known dentist and teacher.


·        Author Nora Roberts.


·        Roy Meachum, columnist, print-broadcast journalist.


·        Al Shockley, car dealer.


·        Michael Long and David Snyder, restaurateurs.


·        Tim Wesolek, TV executive, former member of

Frederick Community College Board of Trustees.


·        Linda Meuhl, medical practitioner.


·        Members of the Charlie Keller family.


·        Walter Mills, businessman and equine expert.


·        Jim Frank, bail bondsman.


·        Ken Timmerman, journalist, world traveler.


·        Ken Young, baseball owner.


·        Stan Goldberg, sports journalist.


·        Patricia Kelly, writer, nurse, organizing coach.



This suggested speakers list by far is not a complete group. There are so many more available names to aid and abet grads’ take off to worlds unknown. Opportunities begin at home. Sometimes the grass seems greener across the street and far and wide. Usually, it is more costly in unexpected ways.


Amid the thrill of facing the future, there’s no place like home.


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