Thank you from this BHS graduate

To The Editor:

It did not seem so long ago that on a late summer morning in August, 2004, the Bedford High School Class of 2017 was walking into Kindergarten for the first time. Quickly becoming etched in stone was the daily routine of boarding buses, developing new friendships that would endure to this day, opening our minds to a new regimen of reading, writing and arithmetic, the plethora of after-school activities and the trappings of our parents’ inescapable lair of homework routines and standards of performance. Fast forward 13 years to May, 2017, the final semester of high school’s senior year, as I think about how far we have come and how fortunate we are, I realize how different things could have been for me personally had it not been for so many choices made along the way – not so many made by me as by others whose lives have touched mine.

One choice was that of my parents’ decision early-on to relocate to the Bedford School District, a community organization committed to educational excellence for students who endeavor to pursue it, from Peter Woodbury School to McKelvie Intermediate School, to Lurgio Middle School, to Bedford High School; but before that, a choice led by a core of visionary citizens inspiring the creation of a high school reflecting Bedford’s own identity, to develop critical thinkers to address tomorrow’s complex challenges and to establish educational standards reflective of its own vision of success and academic excellence.

Another choice was made by teachers I encountered throughout the years who chose to take the time from their own personal lives to meet with me before and after school to go over concepts that I was perhaps unable to fully grasp the first time; a choice made by my high school counselor who took the extra time from her obligations of guiding some 300 other students to guide me through 20 different college applications and to let me know that she believed in me; a choice made by a principal who never waned in his show of support for whatever initiative I endeavored to pursue; a choice made by a superintendent who despite a mountain of administrative demands and obligations to guide some 4,500 students, still, was never too busy to support a student’s statewide initiative and who told me that he saw himself in me; a choice made by my big brother whose success before me helped to pave the way for my early admission to the #1 college of my choice; and a choice made by my sister with special needs to keep a positive outlook on life, regardless of her challenges, whose life is a constant reminder of, both, life’s fragility and its resilience and whose spirit is an inspiration to us all.

Perhaps most of all, however, I am grateful for the choice my parents made long before I entered kindergarten, who proved time and time again that their love for me and my brother and sister is greater than their love for their own personal agenda, who always had other important things to do, but never compromised in their aspirations and standards for each of their kids – yes, to be successful, but more importantly, to be happy in life. Had it been a different choice by any one of these figures along the way I am certain that my success would not have been as fortunate.

And so, to all of you whose lives you’ve touched, my success is our success, and knowing fellow BHS graduates who share the same gratitude please know that these sentiments are felt by many. It is my sincere hope that one day, as a product of the Bedford School District and a citizen of Bedford, if even unknowingly, I might somehow reciprocate in kind, whether by what I do or words I say, and serve in a similar way as a rock of support for students who follow and who aspire to reach for the stars. I can think of no greater legacy to leave behind.

Thank you.

Nick Courtney

BHS ’17

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