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Distinguished Alumni Q and A

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This year, York continued its five-year tradition of honoring accomplished graduates known as Dukes of Distinction. These alumni have a lot to share from their experiences here at York or from their later careers. Hearing their stories provides York students with an incredibly useful opportunity  to reflect on and consider their own future goals. We decided to ask some follow up questions to five of this year’s alumni (Tom Fisher, Mary Woolley,  Linda French, Blake Byrne and Dave Bosse) to see if they could share more wisdom with us.

 

Q: What is your favorite memory of York?

A: Fisher: Generally, being in a place where I had some independence to 

hang out with friends and being trusted to do so.

A: Woolley: Shaking then-presidential candidate JFK’s hand; it changed my thinking and maybe my life, seeing politics and leadership up close.

A: French: I played number one singles on both teams my freshman year and got to know many of the other athletes on the teams.  They made me very comfortable at York, drove me home after practice, and, along with the coaches, were very kind to me.  

 

Q: How did your high school experience impact your career choice? Did you think you would be successful?

A: Byrne: I would say the high school experience that affected my career choice the most was my history teacher. He had just finished at the University of Chicago and was most enthusiastic about me taking a summer job working the conventions in 1952 (which made a big impact on my future). As far as being successful,well, I am probably arrogant enough that it never occurred to me that I’d be anything else.

A: Bosse:  York taught me to be tenacious, to never give up. You get nothing for free you have to earn it… It  [York] definitely helped me. I did not give up until I achieved my goals in the Fire Service.

 

Q: Do you have any advice for high school students?

A: Fisher: Know what causes you anxiety or prevents you from taking chances.  Where you are willing to take chances and step out of your norm or society’s norm is where you will find the most growth as an individual, couple or group.  Also, bad news never gets better with age.  Make sure to share bad news with those that need to hear it.  It might sting, but it gets to problem solving or moving on faster.

A: Woolley: Follow your passion. Don’t let other peoples’ framework  for your life’s work define yours. Work on something larger than you are and you will become a larger, and better, person yourself.

A: French: Find what you like and are interested in and see where it may take you. Be fit – physically, emotionally and financially. Set goals. Be fair, honest and hardworking so you can respect yourself and your accomplishments. Strive to be thoughtful, open minded, curious, resilient, determined, optimistic and kind.

A: Byrne: Never be ashamed of who you are and what you’ve done. Always tell the truth, even when it hurts, and continue to support your ideas and ideals even when others disagree.

A: Bosse: It is okay if you do not want to go to college right after high school. Find out what you want to do before you get sucked into a four year degree in a field that does not make much money. Also, take a lot of history. Teddy Roosevelt said, “Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it.”

 

 

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