It seems as though we have been here at Cornell for a year now. If the weather had changed more dramatically, I would swear to it. In the past two days, I have reflected on this experience as the witness to these young peoples' growth and maturation.
To begin with, I could not be prouder of these kids if they were my own. They have been models of what all young people should be: adventurous, curious, kind, sincere, playful, persistent, and, most of all, resilient. It is this last quality that is the most impressive.
As I have spoken with other chaperones, resilience is perhaps the greatest lesson to be learned. As you talk to your children, I am sure that they will share tales of effort as well as play. There were, I am certain, also moments of discouragement or loneliness, when all did not go just as they expected. Each of your children overcame these moments to shine. From the 24-hour delay in Chicago to struggles with their group, they demonstrated this resilience in a setting that is ompletely foreign to them.
I think that Beilul speaks for each of your children. When I said to her just after she completed her final project and the course, "You should be proud of yourself," she replied, "I AM proud of myself."
Well, I am very proud of all of them. What an honor this has been! And this is just the beginning of their entry into another world of learning. I can't wait for the next, "Hello, this is ... and I'm in ..."
Thank you once more for your trust and support. They -- and I --- know that you are the reason they are able to thrive here.