We have had a fabulous weekend together! We have reunited with old friends and made many new friends. Like the great Sioux Nation, we have overcome the loss of our physical home. We are in fact, The Cherry Lawn Nation. Cherry Lawn has lived on in our hearts for so long when we thought we were alone. When we each thought we were the only person on earth who remembered Cherry lawn. We had no way of knowing that others were also wandering and wondering about that place they had been that had left such a pronounced mark on them.
When I first talked to Stuart Varden about the idea of this event, he warned me. He said: "It is a lot more work than you can ever imagine. There will be times when things happen that will make you wonder why you ever thought this was a good idea."
Stuart Varden should operate a psychic hotline! Everything he told me turned out to be true. This project actually took two years of constant effort. We ultimately ended up planning and producing TWO reunions. No one wanted to wait two years to get together so we hastily put together the first reunion last summer. That one was not exactly easy either. We got through it, and it was a great success. We learned a lot. One of the great lessons was that there is NO generation gap among Cherry Lawners. We are all on the same wavelength. The Cherry Lawn Nation.
So here we are... All of us together... And how did this happen? Well, when you ask who invented the fluorescent light, there is no real answer, because it was a series of independent developments that all came together. When you ask you invented the incandescent light bulb, you can point to Thomas Alva Edison.
The simple fact is that we know exactly who is at the root of how we have all been reunited and why there is a monument being dedicated and why all of us worked so hard ourselves to make this day happen.
None, and I really mean NONE of this would have happened without the incredible influence, wisdom, strength and guidance of one person.
In days gone by, there were two very special awards given out at graduation exercises. One was the Trustee's Award for a Cherry Lawner who had gone on to make a name for her or himself after attending Cherry Lawn. The other was an award for a student who most exemplified the spirit of Cherry Lawn. These awards were only given out in years when there was somebody who really deserved them.
In that spirit, we have a very special award to present today. This is a one time award, and We are very honored to be presenting it to a very special person. Let me read to you what it says:
The Cherry Lawn School Alumni Association
July 25, 1999
To express our deep gratitude for all he has done in his tireless and selfless efforts to reunite the Cherry Lawn community, and for his devotion to the many, sometimes thankless tasks he has taken upon himself without ever once asking for anything in return. For truly embodying the spirit and the passion of that which makes the memory of Cherry Lawn School so dear to all of us...
The officers of The Cherry Lawn School Alumni Association are very proud to present the
Cherry Lawn Honor Award
Dr. Stuart A. Varden, CLS '56