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.