« Back

Lyndon Institute Alumni Graduation Reflection

May 29th, 2020

One of the things that makes Lyndon Institute special is the number of graduates who choose to come back and work at the school as adults. We recently asked our alumni faculty and staff to explain why they chose to return, reflect on their time at LI as students, and give advice to our class of 2020.

Why did the fifty-six alumni choose to return to their alma mater? When asked, it was evident that the school had a huge impact on their development, and they wanted to give future students the same kind of experience and opportunities they had enjoyed. They spoke of their immense love for the school and the surrounding community. So many want to make sure that their own children become Vikings.

What do LI alumni employees remember from their high school days? Whether a member of the class of 1974 or 2006, the trend was clear--they value community, family, and pride. The sense of community that they felt as teenagers stayed with them. LI was and is their family. Vikings carry a sense of pride with them every day. The opportunities that were available to them then made them who they are today, and they remembered the teachers who took the time to get to know them and help them figure out who they were and who they wanted to become. 

Finally, what advice do they have for the class of 2020? 

“Treasure this moment in time - and every moment. Make every effort to be present in all you do. While it's important to set goals and dreams, as well as to reflect on where you've been and what you learned, don't let the past or the future consume you. Let yourself live in each and every precious moment, knowing that wherever you are is where you are meant to be.” Karen Kennedy ‘74

“Do not be afraid to go out into the world. Try a lot of different jobs and have a lot of different experiences. People in the larger world won't know you or care about you the same way they do here.” Twila Perry ‘77

“Go to work, be on time, take pride in what you do, do what you like to do, and live accordingly.” Bruce Wakefield ‘77

‘Bigger and better things are not always in a city. Your close circle of friends will always be your close circle. I wish I had been told also to slow down, understand that life is a process of ups and downs, and don't get too high or too low, with each one of them.’ Eric Berry ‘85

“Don't worry so much about what other folks your age think, just be true to yourself. It's okay to be weird and different.  Be kind and listen to other people's stories.  Do not be so quick to judge.  Never stop learning and asking questions.” Chris Manges ‘87

“Take risks and push yourself to your full potential.  Don’t settle for mediocrity, you deserve more!  Take time to enjoy life. Don’t spend all of your time working or with your nose in the books, go out and build relationships with others! You don’t want to look back and wish that you had.  Always be kind; it costs you nothing but may mean everything to the person that you are kind to.  At your age I wish I had been told: “Dream big and work hard to get where you want to go.” “Never let the opinions of others direct your path...follow your heart!”  Denise Tomaselli ‘88

‘To the 2020 senior class, find something you are passionate about and build on it.  It could be a job or it could be a hobby, but find something you enjoy.  Also, you don’t have to have your entire life planned out right now.  Relax.  Enjoy the simple things and be happy.  Most of all, attend your class reunions.  Being able to connect with childhood friends every five years is priceless.” Sonya Carr ‘89

“It is not the finale....you don't have to have it all figured out when you graduate. LI has given you all the tools you need to figure out what your next chapter is. “ Heather Wheeler ‘90

“Don't define success or happiness by what you think it should be according to others; realize that you have the power to define your own sense of meaning in life.” David Stahler Jr. 90

“Make a plan for your future. It can change at any time, but chart a course. Experience everything you can, don't say "no" out of fear of humility. I wish I had been much more engaged in my school and what it had to offer at the time. Don't be afraid to take risks, it never hurts to ask something and don't be afraid to be turned down.” Dan Camber ‘90

“Your life is full of possibilities and now is the time to explore some of those opportunities.  But, don't forget where you came from.  Stay connected to your school and come back for your reunions!” Melissa Hall ‘92

“Be the change.” Terha Steen ‘92

“You're better and smarter than you think you are. Don't be afraid to fail. It's only truly a mistake if you don't learn from it, as long as you learn from it it's valuable experience. “ TJ Tanner ‘99

“College isn't for everyone, learn a trade or a skill. Be able to work with your hands. I was probably told that, but could have been told even more!” Chad Simpson ‘00

“I wish someone would have told me to say yes more, to invitations and opportunities, especially if they were outside of my comfort zone.” Meagan Howard ‘02

“Don't strive for perfection. It's more or less unattainable. Strive to be a good person. Strive to make good friends and keep them close. It took a ruptured appendix in my junior year of college for me to realize that people are more important than grades. Maybe I wouldn't have listened to that advice at the time, but I wish I had!” Jill Nichols ‘04

“Be sure to have a good idea of what you want to do if you choose to go to college. It may be wise to work for at least a year before signing papers to advance your education because it’s a financial decision that will be with you for many years after graduating.” Casey Tanner ‘06

Though the school values all its faculty and staff, and though those who didn’t graduate from LI bring a diversity of experience and a fresh perspective to our community, the fact that so many alums choose to return and spend all or part of their career working for the school speaks to the power of the Lyndon Institute experience. Grounded in the school’s traditions and an understanding of our local students’ backgrounds, our faculty and staff alums offer a kind of continuity and stability that helps make LI a unique and special place.

Congratulations to the class of 2020!

Photo caption: New this year, Lyndon Institute lit its bell tower in maroon to honor the graduating Class of 2020.

Posted in the category Front Page.