Letter to Seniors: Ray Chapin
As I started to think about writing a letter to your class, I decided to reflect on my own graduation in 1978. I wondered if I might share something meaningful from mine. I dragged my yearbook out from a box in the attic, and paged through it in the hopes that I’d discover some nugget of inspiration for me as a letter writer, or even better, something I could lift from the pages and pass directly along to you.
I started with the handwritten notes from my classmates, as I was curious about what my friends had said to me at this important time of transition—there would surely be some insightful words that held up over these past 42 years! Well, most of them, not so much. Here’s a sampling:
—“Well, I don’t have much to say, but we’re out of this hole. Also, good luck in the future.”
—“I’m going to miss the old voter prep class, aren’t you? Yeah, almost as much as chemistry!”
—“Ray, I really never got to know you, but you were a good athlete.”
Not exactly profound.
As I continued on my trip down memory lane, I did find a few notes that were a little more interesting. Like the one from my high school sweetheart who wrote, “I love you forever”! Later that summer she hooked up with my best friend. So I kept looking. Then I found what I was looking for on the Senior Page, right next to the photograph you see here: “Ray’s ambitions are to get his own van and to travel. His likes are soccer, basketball and Kathleen.”
In some ways, I haven’t changed. I still like soccer and basketball, and now that I’m retiring, I plan to do a lot of traveling. But I have a different sweetheart, and I have acquired many other interests. I realize that my life since high school has been a continual figuring out who I am, with all the ups and downs that that entails.
What an odd and challenging spring you’ve had—I’m sorry that you won’t be able to have a “traditional” celebration to end your senior year. But your experience at Thetford Academy runs much deeper than a spring quarter. You’ve formed meaningful relationships and gained valuable skills, many that you won’t even realize you have. Most importantly, you’re now embarking on a new leg of your life’s journey, one that will bring lots of change, but will also provide opportunities for becoming who you want to be.
Ray (Mr. Chapin)