Before presenting Fr. John with the senior class shovel, class president Tyler Normile '18 offered shared the context and history behind his choice:
Good afternoon everyone! My name is Tyler Normile and I have the pleasure of being the President of the Class of 2018.
As is tradition here at Stonehill, the senior class president selects a shovel from the shovel collection here on campus to present to the President of the college. This year I have selected the Ames Malleable Iron Potato Scoop. This shovel is malleable iron with a T. Rowland label and wooden D handle and is believed to have been made in the early 20th century. This shovel has the overall shape of an Ames Fireman’s shovel designed for removing ash and debris. During World War I, farmers were in need of an easier and quicker way to harvest their crops, mostly potatoes, to get them to the frontline. What the Ames family did, is take a complex problem, and find a simple, yet innovative solution to the problem. All they did, was cut these slits into the metal of the shovel to allow the farmers to filter out the dirt and rocks and hold onto the potatoes.
For me, this is what Stonehill teaches us. Stonehill teaches us to take a complex problem and to be innovators by finding a simple yet effective solution to that problem. Stonehill teaches us to change the world when we leave here. Just like in any time in our lives, we as students will sometimes face a difficult situation while at college. Whether this is with a class or project, or with friends or with our new found independence, it is normal to have some difficult times while in school. It is important not to let this stress control us. What we need to do, is we need to find the solution to our problem. Stonehill provides us with the tools needed to become problem solvers. No matter what the problem might be, find your own way of making yourself feel better. Find a solution to your problem whether that is taking a walk, watching an episode or two or three or thirty, call a friend, call a family member. Find your solution and remember to use that when things become difficult instead of letting your stress overwhelm you.
Members of the Freshman Class, your four years here will go by way faster than you can imagine. Lucky for us as students, when we leave here, we will have the knowledge and the tools to think like the Ames family did when designing this shovel. We can be innovators and we can change this world for the better. To the first year students here today, I hope that you will take a moment now to remember where you are sitting and what you are feeling in this exact moment. I hope that you will think back to this when you have discovered what your potato scooper is, what your outlet is. Enjoy every minute at this college because before you know it, you will be sitting in the section of seniors who just moved their belongings into their room for the last time. It is scary for me to think that just three short years ago I was sitting where you are sitting, scared of what was ahead of me. But I promise you, you will love it here at Stonehill and you will look back wishing that you had remembered every moment of your Stonehill experience.
I hope that my message has reached you today, and I wish you the best of luck on your journeys. To the seniors, we made it this far, let’s make this last one count.
Thank you so much everyone!