I've known from the first e-mail from Peggy that this would be an historically memorable and emotional experience for all of us:
alums, teachers , alums who are parents of alums and two or three generations of New Lincoln People.

I see Anne Zuckerman and her child in the audience and I must give her a hug before I can continue. We've worried and prayed for her ever since we learned that she was in the earthquake in Chengu. Now she is back on home soil and safe.

IN 1917, just as World War 1 was ending, the founders opened an experimental and progressive school named after the great Emancipator: Lincoln .. Its purpose was to solve some of the problems of what we teach and how we teach and how children and teens learn.

The debate still rages in the land but you are the heirs to what was great about that experiment.

Today you and I and your teachers, look back at all the permutations wrought by the century; for the Lincoln and the New Lincoln Schools have a genealogy as interesting and complicated at that of the Tudors or Stuarts we once studied here.

This educational experiment shone brightly in the 50's when we joined the nation's history with direct participation in the legal solutions to our national integration problems.

In the 60's major social turbulence and political crises reared their ugly heads in our world, our nation and our city. these caused us to evacuate this facility for a safer home on the eastside. It caused the state to sieze the facility by eminent domain and establish this place.

When Peggy asked me about the building I had forgotten where my classroom was. But the class of 1960 had made its yearbook cover a drawing of students rising through the building in the elevator.. It was a rendered slice of the building. And a few days ago I looked at it carefully and saw I had written in a corner: 705. That was our core class. And I want to see it again. Today.

You will find in private conversations why so many of your teachers accepted your invitation to return and you will remember the fine moments of their youth and their remarkable craftsmanship, their humanity and academic substance Most are all here by first names and they will see you in their academic bailiwicks as we move around the building. All of them are personally memorable figures in their own right.

Now that we are here and see what has been wrought, don't call it a jail! don't called it a prison! What we see here in some ways reflects a mission which is humanistic too and a teaching institution in so many ways similar in objective to ours.

Something quite marvelous must have happened here to require all the other classes to join you 68ers. To appreciate dare I say . . . even Hallow this ground. This is the incubator in which you learned who you were and whom you could or would become, And you are here forty years later!

Some of you have parents who were part of the early childhood of the school; some of your grandparents played a role in New Lincoln's adolescence and its long term and fiscal survival.

These classes have assembled after traveling many main streets and byways, and there is magic here in the moment, testing what we taught and what we learned and what we all questioned.

So much has happened since we separated.. We see the political changes shifting around us at this very moment. You've seen an election we couldn't imagine or covet in our youth. Our families and alums were then in the forefront of now current communications, film and technology, authorship, teaching and all of the fine arts, medicine, law and international political writing. Whenever I read a newspaper or magazine or visit the web I have looked and found your names and faces.

As for me I have two secrets to tell you about

I got my name the first week I came to New Lincoln to teach. Dr Brooks (Sylvia's dad) asked: "What do you want to be called?" I had been known as "V", and "Mac" (My maiden name was Mc Carroll) and even known as "Nell". Before I could respond he said "Why not let us call your Verne?" Everyone here seemed to have had a short name..

So I became and remain Verne, pleased at that decision he made for me since he was a remarkable person and administrator,.

Finally what do I feel at this very moment: among you: When I was a young thing my foreign language was German and I was a great admirer of Goethe's Faust, the drama and the opera. There is the bargain between Faust and Mephistopheles and Faust must lose his soul if there is ever a point in which things are so intensely, overwhelmingly beautiful that he asks the moment to continue. This is such a moment for me now...
I am not going to make a bargain with Satan but this is a moment in my life in which I will say what Faust says:


Remain fair moment you are indeed so lovely.

What a reunion!!!!!