NHS Induction, 2010

I delivered the keynote address at the 2010 National Honor Society induction ceremony at Houston Christian yesterday. I was honored to have been asked by the NHS officers. The event went very well as NHS inducted 24 new members.  Current officers Lexi Peterson, Katie Brand, Alex Bui, and Sarah Rommelmann did a fantastic job, as did their advisor and my department colleague, Casey Bourland.  It was the first time I have given an address to the entire  campus, that consisted of the faculty, students, and parents. The premise of my talk was to encourage students to be lovers of learning; I wanted them to seek knowledge, not memorize it for an exam; I asked students not to focus on being careerists, but life long lover of ideas and books. Furthermore, I wanted students to know they are lucky to be surrounded by some of the brightest and most talented teachers in Houston; I used a few faculty members and my department as an example of people that seek knowledge, not careers.

I used W.E.B. Du Bois reference of the talented tenth to showcase how society would follow a vanguard of intellectuals and progressives forward. Moreover, I linked the notion of the tenth to Ben Carson, who became gifted once he embraced knowledge. Thus, making him a member of the tenth. I also stated:

Many had given up on Ben, including himself, who at one point was at the bottom of his class. Being a poor black student from the inner city, he found inspiration from his mother, who motivated him to seek excellence. Thus, he would later go on to attend Yale then medical school at the University of Michigan. Ben Carson was one in ten. You NHS members are one in ten. It is your fate, mission, destiny to model to the rest of society what an elite education is. Being a member of NHS places you in the talented tenth.


8 thoughts on “NHS Induction, 2010

  1. what an amazing picture you posted at the top!!! some real camera-pro must’ve taken that.

    I agree with your assertion that students SHOULD be lovers of learning and not focused on a career. However, if this were the general desire of society, then we wouldn’t see such an intense push for “college-this”, “college-that”, “masters-this”, “doctorate-that”. It’s just a very career-minded society we live in. and it’s no one’s fault really. I mean, you could look at American society and the fact that most of these notoriously academic universities (primarily among those on the east coast and midwest) were founded AFTER the dawn of industrialism, when specialization in jobs was becoming more desired, and when big-billion-dealers founded these centers of learning. so, you would THINK that college is about continuing education, but who’s to say that in reality it’s all about getting a job and getting out of college, in order to make money-money-money.

    personally, i wish life were that idealistic. i guess some of the pressures that come from our parents, teachers, and surprisingly those students around us (and those that graduate before us) make it difficult to view college as a continuation of education for the sole purpose of – well – education.

    personally, i learn the most when i experience the real world around me. when i see something and question it…maybe even ask someone about it. when i put myself in uncomfortable positions, such as traveling abroad on my own, i learn something so valuable that textbooks and lectures can’t even compare.

    also, trying your hand at an odd job every once in a while (like fixing the sprinkler head, rewiring a unit, or even volunteering in a medical clinic) can teach you something more valuable than quizzes and tests can. even though you might fail in those instances (say, shock yourself when rewiring a unit), at least you learned something. the learning process begins at a young age, when a kid touches his hand to a stove and, with tearful eyes, learns it burns him. this kind of learning – through inquiry, exploration, and experimentation – is what learning should REALLY be all about… NOT about getting that ideal job, perfect salary, and amazing retirement!!! if you live your life in the latter way, you’re living in expectation of dying.

  2. Sounds like your talk went very well from the comment above. I like the topic. The idea that we live in a world that has become less interested in the exchange of ideas is scary.

  3. What a special honor to be chosen to speak. I liked your comments to the students. They were very inspirational. I believe too that we should be lovers of learning and continually expand our knowledge. I would have taken it one step further though and said to take that love of learning and find a career that they truly enjoy. Scripture tells us in 2 Thessalonians 3 “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” We were created to be workers and to do it all for the glory of God.

  4. Pingback: Academic Changes: Good & Bad | The Professor

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