Grade: Elementary
School/Institution: All Saints Catholic School Bangor, ME
Back in 2002 I had the privilege of long-term subbing at Bucksport High School. Unfortunatley, we lost one of our students quite unexpectedly that December. I chose to use “Tuesdays with Morrie” to help Ryan’s classmates cope with their sudden and tragic loss.
In 2007, we lost another amazing young man, Harrison, and I again went to Mitch and Morrie to help us through the grieving process. In particular,I found that I needed the consolation the book offers, for “Sir Harry,” as he was affectionately known, was one of my most special students.
Although I had moved on to teaching in a Catholic school, a dream come true for me, I was asked to give the commencement speech for Harrison’s class, the Class of 2009.
Because we had also lost a very dear English teacher the same year as Harrison, I wanted to address not only the graduates, but to in some way touch the faculty and staff as well. The foundation of my speech was none other than, “Tuesdays with Morrie,” and Morrie’s 3 point philosophy of how to lead a meaningful life.
The day of graduation, I practiced my speech on my fourth grade class at ASCS, many of whom had tears in their eyes by the time I reached the end. I had shared Harrison’s story with them and they were very much aware of what a special young man he was.
After the speech that night, there were numerous folks who approached me to tell me that I had inspired them to go back and re-read their copies of the book, as I had mentioned in the speech that I read it once a year as a “refresher” and to see if I am keeping myself on track with regards to leading a meaningful life.
The local papers wrote articles about the graduation and mentioning the speech’s reliance on Mitch and Morrie’s story. For a few weeks after graduation, folks who had attended the event would comment on the speech. (I hope there was an uptick in sales of the book!)
Now, I am eager to get back to school and share with my students the “miracle” that Mitch’s soon-to-be released book has brought about. We love sharing miracle stories at ASCS!
As co-ordinator of the Bucksport Bay Festival, I work very hard on this three day annual event. This summer, the weather has been very unfavorable and as we got to the Festival weekend, folks were lamenting how all the hard work would go for naught, due to the torrential downpours. I kept telling everyone things would work out, and I had gone to daily Mass to offer up extra prayers for good weather for the event.
The Thursday before the big weekend, in a discussion with the owner of our local book store, BookStacks, he indicated that he had gotten an advanced reading copy of Mitch’s new book. He thought I should be the one to have it, and was sending it down to me. He did not mention the name of the book over the phone, so one can imagine my surprise, and delight, when the book was delivered to me and I saw the title, “have a little faith.”
I smiled and looked heavenward in thanks for the “message,” and from that moment on, never had any doubts that we would have anything but the perfect weather for our main day of events. And that is just what came to pass! That Friday we had torrential downpours, but we were able to move the events indoors. People were still lamenting about how awful it was to have such bad weather, but I was resolute in my convictions that Saturday would be fine, in spite of what the weather forecasters were predicting!
At 4 a.m. on Saturday, the rains stopped. By 5:30 a.m there were ribbons of blue sky in evidence, and by 6 a.m., the sun was shining and we had the most beautiful day of the summer thus far. On Sunday, the rains returned, and folks commented on how “lucky” we had been to have such a wonderful Saturday. I was very quick to point out that it had nothing to do with luck, but in fact, it had been a miracle.
The story captured the interest of the local paper, and later in the week, there on the front page was the article of the impact of Mitch’s stories, “Tuesdays with Morrie,” and the upcoming “have a little faith,” on our community.
I intend to continue to use Mitch’s books whenever I can in the education of our future generations because they so profoundly touch our hearts and our souls!