Come Find Your Tribe
A message from Faith Brynie (WV, 1964)
Chair of the 50th Anniversary event in 2014
When I went to the 50th anniversary gathering of Presidential Scholars in 2014, I had no idea what to expect. Oh, I knew a bit about the speakers, the venue, the activities---but I had no idea what the “vibe” would be. Would we all stand around and stare at one another, at a loss for words? Would we drift off into cliques, the old staring uncomfortably at the young and vice versa? Would the physicists and the poets be able to talk together? Would they even want to?
Within minutes of registration, all my fears vanished. Those Scholars—along with the families and friends who accompanied them—quite simply dived at one another. Yes, they dived! No other word describes it. That Presidential Scholar nametag opened the flood gates. “Where are you from?” “What do you do?” “When were you a Scholar?” “What are you doing now?” “Hey, have you read . . . seen . . . heard . . .? “ Those Scholars were as eager to share and to learn from one another at their reunion as they had been when first they received their medallions a few (or many) years ago.
And the laughter. Oh, lots and lots of laughter.
To paraphrase novelist Sam Lipsyte, “They found their tribe.”
Youthful or graying, scientist or artist, East, West, or Heartland—none of that mattered. Presidential Scholars share a common bond that is impossible to define. Maybe it’s their innate curiosity or enthusiasm or risk-taking bent. Maybe it’s their passion for knowledge, communication, or collaboration. Maybe it’s because all have traveled similar paths in diverse directions. Whatever that indescribable something is, the participants in the 2014 gathering found it. As one scholar put it at dinner: “Now I understand why I came here.”
Do you want to find your tribe? Are you looking for others of like-mind? Are you longing for an uplift in spirits that only “your tribe” can grant you? Are you interested in simply laughing a lot and having fun?
Don’t wait. Early bird registrations rates expire soon.
Sign up now for the anniversary celebration in June. Come find your tribe!