[Congressional Record Volume 157, Number 93 (Monday, June 27, 2011)]
[Pages S4126-S4127]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


 Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, any of us who have been in public 
life have learned--sometimes the hard way--the virtues of something our 
late colleague Ted Kennedy believed was a secret to success 
particularly in the U.S. Senate, which is the importance of taking our 
work seriously but not taking ourselves too seriously. We still miss 
the booming laughter of Ted Kennedy that seems still today to echo 
through the Democratic cloakroom. It was a trait Ted shared with his 
brother, President Kennedy, whose quick wit is still celebrated today, 
the self-deprecating humor which summarized his World War II exploits 
on PT 109--``they sank my ship''--and described the joys of the 
Presidency--``the pay is good and I can walk to work''--which too often 
is missing in a modern day Washington where self-importance can 
sometimes trump the important work to be done. As President Kennedy 
himself once said, ``There are three things which are real; God, Human 
Folly and Laughter. The first two are beyond our comprehension so we 
must do what we can with the third.''
  A sense of humor is not genetic, but apparently in the Kennedy family 
it can be inherited. In President Kennedy's grandson, Jack Schlossberg, 
this quality seems to abide.
  I got to know Jack well when he spent time here in the Senate both as 
a page and as an intern in my office. It was a difficult time for the 
Kennedy family when Teddy himself couldn't be here as he was battling 
illness, but Ted enjoyed very much the stories he heard and the photos 
he cherished of his great-nephew hard at work in the Senate Ted loved. 
When Jack wasn't busy with his page duties, particularly during the 
late night votes when in previous years Teddy himself would have been 
found regaling his colleagues with stories and laughs, I enjoyed 
hearing from Jack about all the lessons he had learned from his uncle.
  One of those lessons--the importance of humor--was clearly taken to 
heart by young Jack--something I learned last week reading Jack's 
valedictory address this month to his classmates at the Collegiate 
School and delivered his speech as valedictorian. Jack's speech is 
flavored with all the inside jokes that will forever be the shorthand 
history of the 13 years he and most of his classmates spent at 
Collegiate--the cello body slam, the sumo wrestler videos, the ballad 
of Bubba Grandoo, when Carlo broke the silence--all the absurdity and 
antics of years fully enjoyed while learning. Jack's speech is also 
defined by a deep understanding of what holds real value in this life--
teachers who care, friends who share, parents who love--truths that 
Jack and his classmates will surely carry in the years ahead after 
graduating from Collegiate.
  Mr. President, particularly for all of us who know it is important to 
stop and laugh from time to time, Jack's speech really is required 
reading, and I would like to have printed in the Record, with 
congratulations to Jack, and the knowledge that Teddy's booming 
laughter could be heard echoing all over heaven following along with 
every word.
  The information follows.

                          Commencement Address

                         (By Jack Schlossberg)

       Faculty, parents, students, esteemed guests, present 
     clergy, Mr. Rosenthal, I thank you for your warm welcome and 
     for being here today. I wanted to discuss my time at 
     Collegiate and my class, but this is neither the time nor the 
     place. But really, it is with great honor that I make my 
     speech as your valedictorian, looks like my hard work paid 
       I want to begin with our teachers. My class would not be 
     sitting here, heading to the fantastic places we're going 
     next year, without our teachers. The curiosity, the energy, 
     the devotion . . . the tolerance that you bring to this 
     school is what makes it so great . . . Doctor Clarke and Mrs. 
     Heard taught us history and her story. Doctor Bresnick, Mrs. 
     Beresford and Mrs. Hansen have introduced us to characters 
     and explored philosophy. Mrs. Foley has taught us, well 
     actually on the smart kids, how to understand things that I 
     never will, and Dr. Sigismondi has brought us to appreciate 
     the high levels math has to offer. We also thank the 
     maintenance staff and those administrators who make our 
     school run smoothly despite the mess we make.
       We understand that we do not come by the strength and unity 
     of our school by ourselves. Our teachers encourage us just as 
     much as we encourage each other to--get weird. In what other 
     school, I ask you, could El Hajj and Todd Layton be clapped 
     offstage for no apparent reason? The things we say at Friday 
     night games would not be tolerated on any TV show or in any 
     public venue. We're able to act this way because our teachers 
     love us no matter what. And, although some are more lenient 
     than others, Hola Senor, each teacher entertains our 
     absurdity because they understand how important it is for us 
     to have the freedom to be ourselves. Sometimes we go too far, 
     Hola Mrs. Aidoo, and for this we apologize, but we are 
     grateful for all the love and support of our antics.
       On a different note, Collegiate has provided me with 
     something truly irreplaceable: a second set of parents, and a 
     third, and a fourth, and a fifth, and I think this is true 
     for all of us. While my mother and father provide me with 
     more than enough parenting, who wouldn't want 54 other sets 
     of parents watching over their every single move?

[[Page S4127]]

       You, the Collegiate parents, are what make this day 
     possible. You have you each raised one of the greatest 
     children of all time, you have dealt with all of us during 
     the most stressful times of our lives, you have helped each 
     other through hardships, you have taught us so much of what 
     we know; we can only hope to grow up to be nothing like you.
       Surprisingly, now I would like to say a few words about my 
     class. For many of us, Collegiate has been our life since the 
     age of 5. That's 13 years, or 91 in dog years, looking at you 
     Bresnick, you dog--probably the longest time most of us will 
     ever stay in one place. So condense with me, if you will, 
     those thirteen years into a time span of but a week here at 
     school. On Monday morning, under this standard, we arrived at 
     school, some of us potty trained, and some of us not quite 
     there, Spazznick you dog, and began our Collegiate careers.
       Things started fast that Monday morning. Star Sawyer 
     introduced us all to the language of love. Abby Newlan 
     renamed Pinsky, ``Mikey'' but was soon left due to a job 
     opening at Oprah's famed girls school in South Africa. Wait, 
     no, wrong joke. K1 ran train on K2, a trend that has since 
     continued. And that afternoon, after nap time, we entered 
     First grade. Sadly, Eliot Snyder overslept and missed moving 
     up day.
       Under the reign of Beth Tashlik, our serious academia 
     began. We counted and estimated the number of peanut M&M's in 
     a jar, getting our first proverbial nut. Then, Mrs. 
     Hutchinson met Andrew Newhouse, and it took her less than a 
     month to literally ``hit the roof'' after his contagious 
     laughter got the better of our entire grade in an assembly 
     featuring several videos of sumo wrestlers. That afternoon we 
     went home, entirely unsuspecting of the rude awakening 
     Tuesday morning and Second grade would bring us.
       Second grade was a roller coaster of a year, let me tell 
     you. I had my first kiss, and no, not with Martha Miasaka as 
     the legend suggests, instead it came from the wonder from 
     down under, Mrs. Brydon on Kissmiss eve. We went on ``mini-
     trips'' and hit all New York's hotspots. Some went to the 
     Statue of Liberty; some went to Dannie and Eddies, and some 
     to the Empire State building. We also got our first new kid, 
     a great addition to our grade, William Janover. But, it 
     wasn't all fun and games. We learned to write cursive, which 
     none of us can still do, and we lost some real good men out 
     there: Drew Glicker and Spensor Ong left Collegiate for the 
     greener pastures of . . . God knows where.
       We then went to lunch in the third floor cafeteria, came 
     upstairs, and were wonderfully surprised with what the lower 
     school handed us: Mrs. Dopp, Mrs. McCauley, Mrs. Thompson and 
     Mrs. Mullis taught us 3rd grade. All were great, but only one 
     gave Doug Gleicher the finger. We learned our times tables 
     and got separated into reading groups. During music, Chris 
     Cargill was crowned our major-minor king, but was soon 
     usurped by his twin, the evil Courtland.
       By the end of Tuesday, we were the seniors of the lower 
     school. I finally had final cut on my Iktome story, and 
     Abowitz couldn't do a thing about it. Science got interesting 
     when Mr. Duarte mixed one of his own pellets in with the 
     owls'. Oddly enough, that group still found a mouse's 
       On Wednesday, we were thrown into the world of Tashjinian 
     metaphors: the Canada Goose, the Pythagorean theorem, Phil 
     the Lobsterman, and the Purple Cabbage provided us all with 
     limitless inspiration. Needless to say, things were different 
     in 5th grade. We were at the mercy of a new set of teachers. 
     We were asked to turn in homework. We got four new kids, four 
     studs, Ola, Darien, Adam, and Billy Janover. We almost got 
     one more, but instead we were left with the four first names 
     that still make our fingers tingle: Aaron Ashley Marshall 
       We then began 6th grade and had a ball. Rolling Thunder 
     Heard our Cry when we were forced to spend three days with 
     the George Jackson School on a wilderness trip. May Mandeep 
     Singh rest in peace. And, in the funniest memory I have of 
     Collegiate, David Wilks body slammed a cello, I kid you not. 
     David felt badly, but Mr. Lastraps kindly turned his blind 
     eye to the wreckage.
       Many of us became men on Wednesday afternoon, as Bar 
     Mitzvah season quickly changed our lives. At the time, I was 
     not built for the hora. A portly young man with a sweet 
     tooth, I had trouble with the chocolate fountains, the 
     neckties, and the dance floor. Many of you felt my pain, 
     looking at you Jeff Wilks, but others capitalized on it. 
     Nissan moved well to hip-hop and Lynfield was built for slow 
     songs. Still, I danced with a few cuties on those fine 
     evenings, and all too often the party went from 6 all the way 
     to midnight. Things got even crazier during school, we had 
     sports teams and final exams. I never got above a B in 
     either. Plus, no one felt safe in the lunch room, as Henri 
     MacArthur's ridicule knew no bounds.
       Finally, Wednesday afternoon and 8th grade provided our 
     first taste of entitlement. We didn't get away with much 
     though, as Ms. Bell made men of us boys. By then Alvin, Will 
     Grant, Yuri David Yan and Bill Janover had joined us due to 
     the gigantic void left by Cary Jones. Alvin and Grant sang us 
     the ballad of Bubba Grandoo, at first this and their other 
     songs seemed impressive, but later we found out they stole 
     all but the nonsensical lyrics from Madonna. The other two 
     were even more controversial. Yan took away Sam Bresnick's 
     only claim to fame: height. And Yuri made us all look like 
       Hump day had passed and when a new day dawned, 9th grade 
     slapped us all across the face. Along with 11 new kids, 
     William included, Mrs. Hansen joined our grade in entering 
     the Upper School, and she loved everything about us from day 
     1. Things definitely changed for us, grades started to 
     matter, which gave Mr. Rubin way too much leverage. The work 
     was more demanding, but our classes and teachers were more 
     dynamic. Yes, Biology and Mr. Wong intrigued us all, but you 
     all know that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about 
     our Geometry teacher, whose name I am not permitted to say. I 
     cannot begin to describe him to younger grades, I dare not 
     make fun of his table manners, teaching style, physique or 
     general disposition in front of his colleagues, and 
     uncovering the truth behind he and Dustin Satloff's SatBat 
     contract may require legal action. So, I decided it best to 
     leave him out entirely. Some things didn't change though. 
     Maybe it was something in the water, or maybe it was the 
     fertility pills hidden in the Muenster bagels, but French 
     teachers came and went like they had since Middle School. And 
     even though school took over my entire life starting Thursday 
     morning, I truly believe it was the start of a great four 
     years, an endeavor that improved and matured us all.
       There was a fire drill on Thursday afternoon. That was 10th 
       TGIF had a whole new meaning as Junior year began. You all 
     remember the constant work, the SAT prep, and the terrors of 
     applying to College looming at all times. If it weren't for 
     the constant influx of cheerful show tunes from Dr. Maglione 
     I doubt I would have made it through the year. But we all did 
     make it through, and we came out much stronger than we went 
     in. We learned a lot about each other and our grade came 
     together, especially after our trip to Shelter Island. In 
     fact, I think the 4 time champion Collegiate Basketball team 
     owes a lot to Shelter Island and to Matt Roth. Finally, 
     Friday nights were filled with spirits, spirits that cheered 
     our team to victory.
       Friday afternoon was our turn to show Collegiate what we 
     were made of. With Nissan at the helm, we made use of our 
     final year. At first though, our future was uncertain. 
     Overwhelmed with College apps, we rarely made time for fun or 
     games. Some just couldn't take the stress. After his year of 
     fine women and tanning, Jamie broke out in hives upon his 
     first glance at the common app. But we all calmed down after 
     a while. We slowly recuperated and got back to our roots. We 
     cared and we shared. Cared about each other, and if you're 
     Jesse, shared Taxis with girls. We then emerged as a talented 
     bunch. The debate team, with outstanding speaker Hunter Ford 
     competed valiantly at Yale and the Science Olympiads made 
     states and traveled to West Point. Eric Judge finally decided 
     to get a freakin' job and the basketball team made us all so 
     proud when they brought back a 4th consecutive championship. 
     And finally, let us not forget, we produced Upper West: the 
     duo that has been called Sultry meets Punk meets Rap meets 
     Techtonique meets . . . Dub Step meets Flogenic meets a lot 
     of criticism.
       To top it off, one more extraordinary thing happened, 
     joking aside. When Carlo broke the silence last year, I 
     thought I'd never see something more moving or inspirational. 
     This is not something to be overlooked. It is rare. It is 
     powerful. It is a testament both to the strength of Carlo and 
     of our entire school. We hope we've risen to the occasion, 
     and we thank you for your example.
       I never thought we would be seniors, and certainly never 
     imagined we would graduate, not because we're not smart--
     we're geniuses, and not because we're bad people--we're 
     saints, but because 2011 was always the year that was miles 
       That brings us to this moment, Friday afternoon of our 
     final day at school. Collegiate has made us who we are today, 
     and we will strive to live by the values we learned here. We 
     leave Collegiate with the hopes of a fun weekend ahead--a 
     weekend that should last the rest of our lives. Thank