Kenneth L. Pike (1912–2000)

Woodstock Academy Valedictory

We are now on the threshold of our graduation, and as we look back over our four years' work we realize that it is not the facts themselves which we have learned which are important, but only their application to our present life.

This is apparent if we take the poems, literature and grammar studied in our English department and consider them from this point of view. We see that these are not important in themselves, but if we use them to make our lives fuller, nobler, and more soul satisfying, it is indeed worth while and the four years have not been spent in vain. I can best express my thought by expressing Emerson, who says, "When a mind is simple and receives divine wisdom, then old things pass away - means, texts, teachers, temples fall. It lives now and absorbs past and future into the present hour."

In our sciences, too, we have learned how it makes no difference whether or not we have learned facts and rules, if we do not apply them to our needs in life.

Aviation is one of the many fields of endeavor which apply these rules and in which one may use the knowledge gained here. The principles taught here are used so much that one has to have them to succeed in this work. Indeed, leaders of this field are everywhere urging that one have a further training if he wishes to become a leader also. The application of what one has learned here will help one to gain this training.

Aviation and its teachings is only one of the many occupations of which Woodstock Academy and its teachings is a foundation, whether further education is gained through schooling or through experience. It is a foundation, and a sure foundation, for this and for the other professions.

Classmates: In these four years we have learned to love our Alma Mater, so now, as we say farewell, let us go with a resolve that we shall ever be true to her. We shall do our best to show our appreciation of what she has done for us by ever climbing higher, so that she may be proud of us and be glad to welcome us as her own.

KENNETH PIKE

Published in the Putnam Patriot, Putnam, Conn. Thursday, June 21, 1928