What is “community”?
For Ethel Minchello’s parents, who were Holocaust survivors, it was a Jewish neighborhood that gave them comfort, protection and a chance for a better life in America.
Morristown High School’s interim principal told graduating seniors on Wednesday [watch video above] that while rugged individualism has its place in our culture, they should never forget that we are social creatures who need each other to thrive.
“Community is our natural state,” Ethel said, quoting writer Barbara Kingsolver. “You play hardest for the hometown crowd.”
In Ethel’s youth, neighbors solved each other’s problems. They listened to music as a group. They danced together.
“In today’s digitally isolating social media world, it’s easy to overlook or dismiss the significance of community,” she told the 349 graduates gathered at Mennen Arena, exhorting them to “remember your home team.”
Remember, she said, the people and institutions that enhance and strengthen your community, and by extension, nurture you: The Morristown & Township Library, the Morristown Neighborhood House, the Community Theatre, the ambulance squad, police, firefighters, houses of worship.
Communities have grown more diverse, Ethel said, and that’s a good thing. Morristown is a place with room for all, and all are welcome. Hold that close, she advised:
“Remember to always cheer loudest for your hometown team. Become your best self. And above all, know joy.”
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