(A heartfelt speech by Mr. Michael Seckman, a renowned English teacher at St. John’s who also has been teaching English Reading/Writing classes at the Houston Taiwanese School of Languages and Culture for over twenty five years.)
What an amazing milestone we are celebrating today--marking our 30th year! It has been an amazing journey with humble beginnings. The school began as an idea, as a dedication to the next generation, as a place to preserve Taiwanese heritage and to make life in the U.S. as fruitful as possible. The school began without permanent home, renting space in public schools, and look at where we are now with this wonderful facility. We should be forever grateful to those who had the vision in our earliest days to make a place that would have an enduring legacy on the Houston Taiwanese community. With 30 years of history, the school has served much more than the next generation.
Students benefit in so many ways here each Saturday, whether they study math, Chinese, English, Taiwanese, cooking, or karate. The learning students do here gives them untold advantages as they evolve in their academic lives and as they build lifelong skills in thinking, communication, and leadership. These are significant gifts that will impact the kinds of lives our students will lead as they pursue higher education and develop in their careers. However, I would contend that the most important benefit the school offers our students is an enduring sense of community. So much that comes from this sense of community is hard to quantify, but it is this sense of community that gives our lives meaning. Think of the friendships you have formed at this school, think of the shared experiences you’ve had, the common road you have walked. As one who has taught here for many years, it has been particularly gratifying for me to see students come back as adults and to learn that they have maintained friendships long after leaving school. My message to our current students is to appreciate your opportunities and cultivate your friendships because being a part of this community will prove more valuable to you than can probably imagine now.
So now we celebrate 30 years of history. We are thankful that hard work and dedication from many has given us a place where we can all thrive and grow together. We are thankful for our eager students who work hard and remain excited about learning. We are thankful for a place to build community and value Taiwanese heritage.