Wednesday, June 12, 2013


A few months back, I was asked to send my bio information to George Rogers Clark High School, my alma mater to be considered to speak at the 2013 Commencement. I was chosen to deliver the Commencement Address, and it could not have been more fun and rewarding! My "words of wisdom" to the Class of 2013 were .... Never Give Up, Always Challenge Yourself, and Always Try Your Best. I used real - life stories and some humor to address the Class of 2013.
"I had speaker's block ... which could be worse
than writer's block, because if I stood up here
and said nothing - it might be awkward"
AND yes ... they laughed!
 I was glad to see some familiar faces from my high school days .... Mr. Montalbano, Mrs. Pariso, and Mrs. Mckinley (aka Weiss) -- was 1982 really 30 years ago -- standing next to these 3 made it feel like it was only yesterday!
Mrs. McKinley, Mr. Montalbano, ME, Mrs. Pariso
Clark Pioneers Gymnasium
The new principal, Mr. Wilson, who is really very cool, gave us a tour of the school and not much changed -- except the Cafeteria looks like a restaurant! (but missing those STELLAR FRENCH FRIES which are banned now!) and the Library and many classrooms are FULL of computers (instead of manual typewriters and notebook paper!) ... and they are even getting Smartboards installed over the Summer! The pool is still there and I remember all of us trying to come up with reasons why we couldn't swim that day--who schedules SWIMMING as the first period class when you're in high school! And the gymnasium used to have this rubbery floor substance, that if you fell on it, you would get the nastiest BURN on your skin! It now has a beautiful wooden floor and looked as good as it did 30 years ago when I was keeping stats for the boys basketball team and twirling my baton for the basketball half-time shows! Here are a few pictures from my journey back home ... I would not be where I am today without the skills and encouragement from some super special High School Teachers!
The Band Room .... spent many hours here
listening to the band and getting ready for
Football games for twirling!

My mom & her friend Helen Furto-they've
                                                                     been friends since 1st grade! So glad they
                     were there!

Laine Kaminsky giving
                                                                                              us last minute

"I hope you see and experience many amazing things in your life --
never give up, always challenge yourself, always try your best, and
you WILL find your passion!"

My empty chair while I spoke!
Thought this was an interesting picture that was taken!                                                        

Finished ....
Congrats Class of 2013! and Good Luck!

The school gave us plaques from the Class of 2013 - very special!

Congratulations ...
 or as we did on stage ...
          we started coming up with a word from every
          letter of the alphabet ... Awesome, Beautiful, Congrats, Dandy, Excellent, etc!

ME and Principal Wilson!

I gave GRC a copy of my books! Was very special to be
able to give them What's In the Corner? Since it released
June 4, 2013!

 I enjoyed my time in Indiana. I will share more pictures of Whiting and my adventure back home soon.
I have not figured out how to post the audio of my speech; I may put the transcript out here another time.

Thank you again--George Rogers Clark High School and the class of 2013--it was great to speak to you and your kind words after graduation were very much appreciated!

GO YOU PIONEERS!!!  Let's See You Fight, Fight, FIGHT!

If you would like me to speak to your classroom about writing, please contact me at

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