Independent K-12 School in Atlanta

The Paideia School

David Millians '84 addresses the class of 2013

Senior Dinner Speech – Alumni Welcome

Greetings, all. Some of you look quite familiar. I’m David Millians, Paideia Class of 1984, and I am here to welcome you into the community of Paideia alums.

Alum,
From the Latin, alumnus or alumna, meaning foster child, from the Latin verb alere, to nourish,

In the Middle Egyptian of four thousand years ago, sesh per ankh, scholar of the house of life,

In modern Chinese, xiàŏ yŏu, 校友, school friend.

We are all of these things. Paideia has nourished us, Paideia has made us scholars, and Paideia is a community of friendship and support.

Paideia School Class of 2013, this week you are moving from one role to another, but your relationship to this school is not ending. It is transforming. You and your parents are joining a small but growing group of people that share the traditions and lessons of a Paideia education, something beyond simple book studies, something that has affirmed and informed each of us as who we are.

It’s been twenty-nine years since I last spoke in front of a graduating class at Paideia. At that time, I had more hair, all of it brown, and no beard. My parents brought me and my sister Emily to Paideia many, many, many years ago, in the winter of 1972. We dissected horse eyeballs with Lynn, multiplied in base seven with John, wrote our own stories with Bernie, investigated statistics with Rosalinda, heard tales of American history and more from Tom, but we also had lessons in honesty, collaboration, perseverance, and quality. You know what I mean.

Seemingly yesterday, Molly brought Ellen to Paideia and introduced her to these same important lessons, updated for the Twentieth Century. Ellen has loving grandparents and a whole host of other adults who have helped her forge this path she’s making for herself. The real effort, though, has come from Ellen, doing the hard work and discovering herself. That’s what all of you have done. It’s what all of us have to do and what Paideia endeavors to prepare us to do for the rest of our lives.

As Paideia alumni, we owe the greatest debt to our parents and to those teachers of this year and long ago that have given us the countless gifts we enjoy now and far into the future. Each of you, however, has made it happen, is making it happen. No one can do it for you, and that is one of our lessons of Paideia. Even with the great gifts of our families and schools, each of us has to discover and walk the path that makes us ourselves.

Alumni of Paideia nourish the school in many different ways, we continue on the path of scholarship in all its forms of mind and integrity, and we move through the rest of our lives with our connections to the school and our Paideia friendships ever stronger.

And you get a tangible alumni payoff right away, courtesy of Tom and Carl and their team and the alumni association. Save the date, Friday, May 24, at 6:30 in the evening at the venerable gym to join your fellow alums for a pig roast dinner.

Take these many blessings and make something wonderful of them. Then be sure to tell us your stories. We’re here for you. We are you, and you are us.