I apologize for the photograph. It's the best I could do. Standing to the right of center in the green sweater is Conor. This was taken on Saturday night in the Media Center at Arsenal Technical High School. The occasion was Tech Community Leadership Night. The evening began with the recognition of people as Distinguished Alumni. After that several of the graduating seniors were given scholarships by what is called The Tech Community Council. This is really a beautiful example of citizenship and democracy at its best.
Several civic and religious organizations around the Tech neighborhood give scholarships every year for the last 20 years to graduating seniors. They do it because they are neighbor to one another. At a time when there is a lot of handwringing about the lack of community this stands out to me as a shining example of the beauty of it (though they claim this is the only such council or scholarships offered at any public high school in Indianapolis).
But this one had a special undercurrent for me connected to Conor as well. Conor received the East Tenth United Methodist Everson Class Award as the program said "Presented by the Everson Class to a Tech senior who has demonstrated dedicated service to church and community ministry." The chairperson of the Tech Community Council and the M.C. of the event (the person behind the podium) is John Kanouse who is a member of that Sunday School class. I first met John about the time Conor was born. Our friend Lynne Butler was the pastor of East Tenth Street and she had me come in and meet with some of their leadership. I had called Lynne, who lived just a few blocks away from us, the night that Conor was born, to get her help with the birth as we needed another pair of hands in our home that night. Conor was born in the guest bedroom at home on April 13, 1989. Lynne Butler was sitting on the headboard holding Kathy's head up, and wiping her brow, as he was born. The next Sunday she told the congregation at East 10th Street about it. As John Kanouse announced that Conor was receiving this honor -- he mentioned that he had known me for 20 years and that he knew about Conor from nearly the first moments of his birth. It was a surprise and a delight to have Conor receive this award from this good man, this good congregation -- one that had a connection, however small, to our family.
This whole experience of Conor finishing high school has been a new experience. One that has been very rich and delightfully full of such surprises as Saturday night. I never would have thought -- even five years ago, that we would be back at Broadway, that Conor would be graduating from Tech High School, and that he would receive a scholarship from a church who in some small way was a part of his birth. It reminds me of Dr. King's words -- "we are all tied together in an inescapable network of mutuality." I guess so.