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School for Science and Math graduates urged to ‘find the good’

May. 16, 2013, 9:20 AM

At last weekend’s graduation ceremony for the School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, right, talks with, from left, Braxton Brakefield, Rachel Waters, Meera Patel and Angela Eeds, Ph.D. (photo by Michelle Barbero)

During his remarks to the third graduating class of the School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt (SSMV) on Saturday, May 11, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., didn’t give an address — he told a story instead.

The former Tennessee governor and U.S. Education Secretary told the 19 graduates about his friend, the late Alex Haley, author of “Roots:” “Six words that he would always say, ‘Find the good and praise it.’”

“Some people think our country is in deep trouble … yet ironically in many ways, most of the people in the world are trying to emulate a lot of the things that we’ve figured out how to do,” Alexander continued.

“It’s important to see our shortcomings, but it’s also important to find the good and praise it.”

Established in 2007 as a joint venture of Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, SSMV is a program of the Vanderbilt Center for Science Outreach.

Students receive accelerated science instruction and research experience at Vanderbilt while attending their public schools.

This year’s graduates are going on to distinguished universities including Vanderbilt, Columbia, Princeton and West Point.

“This is the kind of program that I wish we had in every single big city in America,” Alexander told reporters before the event.

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