What are the four words that come to mind when you think of the Bennett Alumni Association and Lewis J. Bennett High School? Questions of this nature are often used to help organizations discern where their focus should be. For me, the answers weren’t that easy. Actually, I spent several hours debating what I should answer and why. Finally, I decided on Traditions, Future, Relationships and Success. It would take several pages if I were to offer deep explanations on why I finally chose these four words. Suffice it to say, it finally dawned on me. We have a past. We have a future. Those two words are here because we have such great multigenerational interactions. I am constantly awed by how much people of the past care about our current and future students. And, of course, the relationships that we, as an organization and a high school, have formed and continue to form over almost 100 years are next to miraculous – the ties that bind!
Ultimately, Our Traditions + Our Future + Our Relationships = Our Success became the equation. Could why we do all we do be this simple? I was sure I had my article ready to go for the Beacon. I would sit down and finalize it right at the end of the weekend. Easy. Then Sunday came. Listening to the sermon at church, a thought struck me, directly impacting where my article was going. At that instant, I was going to trash everything. Start over.
The sermon was entitled “The Patchwork Quilt” and there on the altar were three lovely quilts made by one of our members. As the story unfolded, I started putting a lot of pieces together (no pun intended).
The focus was about not ever really knowing what the outcome of events in your life will be. Just as with a quilt, we might spend days planning for a special event and, out of nowhere, everything changes. But still that one piece, although altered, is important Without it, the quilt can never be completed.
Schools experienced a lot of unknowns over the last few years with the pandemic. Through good times and bad, somehow everything looks like it has come together.
I’m hoping that our Bennett quilt is never really finished. We have a quilt that continues to be put together with great care. I like that picture! I can imagine how many pieces are already assembled. Pieces that, at the time, might have had no discernible direction. Delicate calicos that bring back a memory; maybe an errant blue and orange sports letter. Imagine a bit of a freshman fraternity pledge cap or ribbons of materials from caps and gowns.
And each time we reflect on Bennett, we continue to add to that beauty. Every one of you has added, in some way or another, a piece of your fabric. Some continue to add through their time, talents and treasures.
This past year saw fewer members than in the past. Sadly, some of our regular donors have passed away, their quilts completed. Others sent money solely to the Endowment Fund, which meant their contributions could not be used immediately to benefit the students. In any case, we have a great need to increase our contributions. Your dues, along with those of so many others through the years, make a huge difference in the lives of our students. Our mission is to support Bennett in all the ways that we are called to.
Won’t you continue to bridge the intergenerational distance? So many young people are counting on you! If you haven’t been a member in the past, please consider making your contribution. Your piece of fabric, when combined with those of countless others, will create a most beautiful comforter!
May our united good continue to prosper our Bennett!