Tonight was night where all I felt like doing was crying. On the car ride home, back to my parents’ house (for the weekend), from the final dinner and awards ceremony for the graduating class of 2014 of my soon-to-be alma matter.
But these tears, which I chose to hide from my parents, were not tears of sadness. In fact, they were the exact opposite. They were tears of joy.
At the awards ceremony, my parents came (making this only the second school event they have been able to attend here), and I honestly was not expecting any awards. My parents were very proud of me, though, from the moment they walked in, which was honestly a tiny bit of a surprise. But on either side, there were either parents of friends, or teachers, stopping my parents, wanting to meet them, and congratulate them for having… had me? And raised me. Because apparently that’s now something to be proud of.
But again, the last thing I was expecting was an award. If I was to get one, though, I expected to get maybe an award from a club, or something relatively small.
Instead, I was shocked. I was surprised, in the most genuine sense of the word, to have been chosen, by my fellow graduating Seniors, for the only award which is voted on my our senior class. It is the “Jim Tinucci Loyalty Award,” given to the person who is, in essence, the most loyal to themselves, the school, and their classmates and teachers. So, even though I haven’t been at this school for four years, and I was convinced of both, not knowing enough people to be awarded this honor, and also not being qualified enough to receive it, on top of not believing I would be getting an award, I suddenly found my name called.
It was a bit awkward. I was seriously unprepared. My jaw dropped almost the entire length to the floor. I could feel myself begin to think about what this meant, and tear up. On top of this, I was seated near the very back, with my friends, and my parents, and my friends’ parents. So, I wasn’t thinking about walking about 200 feet through various tables and chairs and people to receive an award I never, EVER truly believed I would get.
And it makes me realize how truly blessed I have been in these last two years. I just… I’m so incredibly grateful to have been here, and had the opportunities I’ve had. I just… I intend to carry this legacy with me, for as long as I can. It is truly humbling to think that my peers, my friends, my fellow classmates and scholars, see me as the person that best represents loyalty. I intend, then, to choose that as my legacy. I intend to leave the legacy of loyalty, not only here, but wherever I may go.
My Daily Gratitude is for all of those who have made my life up until this point possible. This award… it simply means so much to be honored with something so truly great. But none of this would ever be possible were it not for those who have loved me along the way. Thank you, so very much.
I know, now, what it means to be a Man With and For Others, and the Jesuits like to say. I have benefited tremendously from this Jesuit Education. Now, it is my turn to set the world on fire.