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I grew up in New York City. I was born there and have called it home for almost my entire life, and I know my neighborhood like the back of my hand. Billy, the street vendor on the end of my block who once gave me a free hot dog on my birthday. Central Park and the route I always took to get to school, walking, or riding my super-cool razor scooter. My building’s shared backyard that only my family really used, with its basketball hoop and uneven dirt floor. And I have memories in all of these places. Billy always giving my siblings and me free lollipops with every purchase of a hot dog. A tree halfway along the walk through Central Park that made you feel like you could see the whole park if you stood on its trunk. I remember setting up my new hockey goal so that I had to score with a very good shot in the backyard, and proceeding to rocket a puck a good foot and a half above the net and straight through our neighbor’s window.

One of my fondest memories was of the North Woods, a section of Central Park that somewhat resembled a forest; for New York City, it was pretty good. My friends and I would run around the paths and over a small stream playing tag, or stare at the waterfall from under a rock next to the stream. I loved the North Woods, and a love for the outdoors was born inside me. My grandparents’ house in Connecticut offered me an escape from New York City. I created mazes in the woods and would run around all day. I saw a deer for the first time, a majestic animal compared to the rats, squirrels, and pigeons of New York.

It was in Connecticut that I discovered fishing. I remember my parents buying me my first rod. The man in the store asked my parents if either of them fished, to which they replied, “no.” He chuckled and said, “That's evolution.” I got a rod and a box of worms and went to a nearby pond. I caught five fish, and from then on I loved to fish.

My love for the outdoors grew and grew over the years. I discovered the White Mountains of New Hampshire and the coast of Maine. I fell in love with the outdoors, a love that New York City did not fulfill. The North Woods of Central Park were no longer wild enough to give me enough time outdoors. So, when I had to start thinking about where I would go to high school, I realized that I would be happiest in a place that could support my love for the outdoors.

That’s how I found NMH, and because of everything else this school had to offer, I came here. I knew I wanted to leave home so I could pursue my love for the outdoors, but doing so was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I’m sure many of you have had the same experience I did. I had to say goodbye to the home I had lived in for 15 years.

When I showed up at NMH I could hardly do anything I was so sad to have left home. But with time, I began to make a new home. NMH is my home now, and it has shown me so many things. I have learned how to be a student, a better friend, and in general a better person.

NMH has given me the opportunity to discover fly fishing. All of my friends and most people who have had a conversation with me know that I am a die-hard member of the NMH Anglers, the unofficial fly-fishing club on campus of which I am usually the only member. I cherish my time fly fishing here because it is so fun, but fly fishing has also been my way of fully discovering and experiencing the love for the outdoors that drew me away from my first home to my second. And fly fishing will most likely take me to other new homes, and away from ones I love.

This will happen to all of us, it is the way life works. What you love will take you away from the places you love. Many of you have left your homes to come here, and will leave here to go elsewhere and make a new home. I recently found out that my family is moving over the summer. I will lose my home in New York, but I will always have what New York gave me. And when I leave here I will have what NMH has given to me.

During this moment of silence, take time to remember your home, wherever that was or may be. Take this time to cherish where you call home, and the memories and experiences that home gave you.

Let us be silent.

Glenn Minshall photo


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