PennDel's President Speaks


Speech on the Occasion

Of The Installation Ceremony of the

B.W.Harris Alumni Association, USA

PennDel Chapter

M.Daniel Nelson, Jr.

President, PennDel Chapter

Saving the Children

Our National Chair, Ms. Gudrun Harris, our installing official, Pastor Christopher Allen Bullock, past national chairs B.W.Harris Alumni Association, USA , distinguished guests, , members of the B.W.Harris Alumni Association, USA, and fellow members of the Pennsylvania Delaware Chapter, PennDel.

Abraham Lincoln once saidThe philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.

With this philosophy as a guideline, we the members of PennDel, working along with the B.W.Harris Alumni Association, USA, embarked on this mission knowing that what we teach our children to today determines how our countries will be governed tomorrow. Let’s teach them well.

I would like to acknowledge all who served before me and helped to bring this chapter to what it is today. Notably Ms.Berma Findley for never giving up and putting PennDel on the road to where we are; Mr. Alfred Major, whose tireless efforts and dedication on which we now stand; Mr.Thomas Grant for moving the chapter on, and Ms.Gloria Caine for rising to the challenge when we needed a leader. It is said that no one is an island and the PennDel Chapter is an example of this adage.

As we gather here tonight to celebrate the installation of a new set of officers of PennDel, the regional chapter of the National Association, and enjoy in the camaraderie and well wishes, let’s also keep in mind the other reason why we are here. It is to honor those girls and boys back in Liberia at the B.W.Harris Episcopal School. They may never get to meet us, and we in turn, may never get to know them, these kids that we are raising funds for. Yet, is it not the true meaning of charity; giving when you expect nothing in return? Never really knowing if one’s investment will pay off?

However, the beauty of this act is that it is in the giving, and not the knowing, for that is where the reward lies. We are reminded of the passages in the Bible that tell us simply: “it is more blessed to give than to receive”. And also, “he that is greatest among you let him be your servant” So, we are here tonight, not only to give, but to serve the children as well. In doing so, we hope to help them also, to paraphrase President William R.Tolbert,Jr., the 19th President of the Republic of Liberia, help them through the “elimination of ignorance, disease and poverty”.

I was fortunate to spend a few minutes with President Tolbert in April of 1979, almost one year before he was assassinated, and it turned out to be a transforming 20 minutes of my life. During our conversation he shared with me that the work he and the other government officials were doing was for us, the younger generation, “the youths, the future”, as he put it. This has been one of the key guiding principles of my life. We have to always help the children, because they are our future, the future of Liberia, the future of United States, the future of the world. We must educate, groom, guide, and help direct them. Too much is at stake to leave this to chance. Indeed, our future depends on it.

So then, then, let’s work to save all the children, not just those at our alma mater in Liberia, but children right here in Delaware. I look forward to a time in the near future when the children of the B.W.Harris Episcopal School and children of schools right here in New Castle County, DE, will form an association in an atmosphere of mutual friendship, growth, and exchange of knowledge and culture.

President John F. Kennedy called on us to “ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country”. By helping our children, saving them, educating our children, mentoring our children, are we not then helping our country? Indeed, ourselves?

Live life for the children
Let's save all the children
All of the children

The goal of our association is based on an age-old philosophy and spiritual quest, the greater good for the many, even when our targeted students may never be known by many of our donors. However, just knowing that by giving to a child, we are helping to shape her/his future in a more promising direction. For we are well aware that with increased knowledge comes better circumstances, and again paraphrasing President Tolbert, lifting whole families from “mats to mattresses”.

PennDel has fully emerged again to join and work with the larger association in full cooperation for the greater benefit of the school, students, faculty and staff. Let’s leave with the words of Dr.Martin Luther King, Jr., Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'what are you doing for others?’”

We must keep doing more, and more. How can we do any less, when so much is at stake?

Thank you.

[1] Marvin Gaye-Save the Children