Friday, October 18, 2002

BEYOND FRANKLIN'S EPITAPH: A FEW VOICES FROM THE NEXT GENERATION

Last week in the 8th grade, we analyzed an epitaph that Ben Franklin wrote for himself when he was 21 years old. In it, Franklin actually anticipated his future fame, accomplishments and influence on generations to come. The homework assignment I assigned for that night was for students to think about what they would like to accomplish and how they'd like to be remembered -- then, to write their own epitaph. Here are four of them; I thought they offered a poignant representation of what the next generation has to offer:

1.
Here lies the body of
Jordan Alexander Pinion,
Who died very young but
Accomplished so much.
He was an inspired artist
Along with a passion for TV
That no one had ever seen before.
So we bury his remote control
In his hand. And a pencil in the other.
To show that he was a great man
Yet at the same time a great child.

2.
Thomas Golding was a very nice person. He lived a
LONG nice life. He accomplished many things. He got
A perfect education. He graduated high school at the
Academy of the Pacific Rim. He got his doctorate
Degree at Harvard University. He owned a multi-trillion
Dollar computer company. With this company, he put Bill
Gates out of business. There is not one national
Business this man does not own. He has received 15
Nobel Prizes for computer science, a cure for AIDS, a cure
For cancer, and the permanent antibody for diarrhea (for
His personal use only). That is why he will be eternally
Remembered.

3.
The body of
Jennifer Marie Alexandra Keating
(like a rose thrown
silently to a ballerina)
Lies here, quiet and peaceful,
But her thoughts will not be Lost;
For they will be remembered
By everyone who told her
Never to give up and persevere
Now she has excelled and
Listened to the advice
Given to her
By her friends, peers and mostly
By her family.

4.
Steven Quinchia

Here lies a loving husband,
A devoted father.
A Renaissance Man marked by
His success in the field of
Engineering.

Many of his accomplishments
Will help the earth become
A healthier, less polluted
Place.

His life was not only based
On work, but enjoying the
Little bit you had of it.

He did not spend his life
Thinking of what he could have
Done but what he could do.