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Sunday, June 14, 2020

Commencement


This is the season, isn’t it? Kids donning their caps and gowns. Proudly displaying their honor stoles and cords and medallions. Parents excited, nervous, sad- all of it.

As parents, we remember their first steps, their first words. We calmed their fears when bad dreams intruded on an otherwise peaceful sleep. We watched nervously from the window as they drove off for the first time with their newly earned license in their wallet or purse. We hugged and kissed them when hearts were broken, when games were won or lost. We stood on the sidelines and cheered them on. We helped buy their prom dress, their new shirt. We encouraged and at times, we discouraged. All within our role as parents. 

This is the season, isn’t it? Except that this year, it isn’t so much like that.

Social distancing. Masks. No crowds. Not much pomp and a whole lot of circumstance, just not the good kind.

The class of 2020 has lost so much, but gained much, too.

They lost their senior dinner dance. Prom. The senior picnic. The A Honor Luncheon. The Yearbook Breakfast. The senior parade through the hallways. A live version of senior scholarship night.

Yet, they gained . . . hopefully.

A sense of what life is about. A newly forged perspective. An appreciation of family, of what they have, what others might not have. They’ve cemented a permanent place in history by graduating through a pandemic, a virus that has taken its toll on life, the economy, the things we take so much for granted.

And through it all, they move forward.

Commencement.

I tell each class at the beginning of my address to them that commencement means to move forward. It is a beginning, not an ending. Seniors leave one life behind only to begin another. One door shuts and another opens. A door to work, to college, to the military. The door of childhood and adolescence closes and the door to the onset of adulting opens.

This year is my last as principal. A sad way to end a career. A sad way to celebrate such a momentous occasion as commencement. My life, like theirs, moves forward. Like theirs, we don’t know what the future holds. We hope. We dream. We suppose. And yes, we fear or are at least anxious.

This week at various times and on various days, our seniors will walk the stage. I will declare them graduates. I will have them turn the tassel signifying such. They will have pictures taken with family and a few friends. Their time, their moment, even if for only a few minutes.

They will remember this year, their commencement. Just as my generation told our kids about the Vietnam War, they will tell their kids about the graduation that wasn’t what they or their parents had hoped for. The graduation in the midst of virus and protest. I am sad for them. I am proud of them. So much to offer. So much more to life. So much. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:
My new book, Betrayed, will debut Nov. 12, 2020! It is a contemporary psychological thriller using some of the same characters from my previous work. It takes place on the Navajo Nation Reservation in northeast Arizona.

Below is the book blurb. Pretty excited about it.

Integrity is protecting someone who betrayed you. Courage is keeping a promise even though it might mean death.

A late-night phone call turns what was to be a fun hunting trip into a deadly showdown. Fifteen-year-old brothers George Tokay, Brian Evans and Brett McGovern face death on top of a mesa on the Navajo Nation Reservation in Arizona. They have no idea why men are intent on killing them.

Betrayed is a contemporary psychological thriller and an exploration of the heart and of a blended family of adopted kids, their relationships to each other and their parents woven into a tight thriller/mystery.

“Once again, author Joseph Lewis has written a fast-paced psychological thriller mystery that immerses readers into a dark world few encounter.”
— Joan Livingston, author of the Isabel Long Mystery Series

“Betrayed is at once an emotional chapter in author Joseph Lewis’ continuing coming-of-age story and an intriguing thriller. Following both law enforcement and a group of teens searching for a missing boy on Native American land, Lewis’ latest also provides a unique view into Navajo culture. A layered story that explodes into a bullet-riddled climax.”
— Rick Treon, award-winning author of Deep Background and Let the Guilty Pay

Connect with me on Social Media:
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor

Spiral Into Darkness:
Named a Recommended Read in the Author Shout Reader Awards!
He blends in. He is successful, intelligent and methodical. He has a list and has murdered eight on it so far. There is no discernible pattern. There are no clues. There are no leads. The only thing the FBI and local police have to go on is the method of death: two bullets to the face- gruesome and meant to send a message. But it’s difficult to understand any message coming from a dark and damaged mind. Two adopted boys, struggling in their own world, have no idea they are the next targets. Neither does their family. And neither does local law enforcement. https://amzn.to/2RBWvTm

Caught in a Web:
A PenCraft Literary Award Winner!
The bodies of high school and middle school kids are found dead from an overdose of heroin and fentanyl. The drug trade along the I-94 and I-43 corridors and the Milwaukee Metro area is controlled by MS-13, a violent gang originating from El Salvador. Ricardo Fuentes is sent from Chicago to Waukesha to find out who is cutting in on their business, shut it down and teach them a lesson. But he has an ulterior motive: find and kill a fifteen-year-old boy, George Tokay, who had killed his cousin the previous summer.

Detectives Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann race to find the source of the drugs, shut down the ring, and find Fuentes before he kills anyone else, especially George or members of his family. The three detectives discover the ring has its roots in a high school among the students and staff. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKF7696


Book One of the Lives Trilogy, Stolen Lives:
Two thirteen-year-old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they’ll end up like all the others- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. And the possibility exists that one of his team members might be involved. http://tinyurl.com/Stolen-Lives-J-Lewis                            

Book Two of the Lives Trilogy, Shattered Lives:
Six men escaped and are out for revenge. The boys, recently freed from captivity, are in danger and so are their families, but they don’t know it. The FBI has no clues, no leads, and nothing to go on and because of that, cannot protect them. http://tinyurl.com/Shattered-Lives-J-Lewis                              

Book Three of the Lives Trilogy, Splintered Lives:
A 14-year-old boy knows the end is coming. What he doesn’t know is when, where or by whom. Without that knowledge, neither he nor the FBI can protect him or his family. http://tinyurl.com/Splintered-Lives-J-Lewis                                              

The Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives:
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they don’t know one another, the lives of FBI Kelliher, 11-year-old Brett McGovern, and 11-year-old George Tokay are separate pieces of a puzzle. The two boys become interwoven with the same thread that Pete Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their lives are in jeopardy as each search for a way out. http://tinyurl.com/Taking-Lives-J-Lewis

Photo is of the Class of 2016, Stafford High School.

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Thank you for your comment. I welcome your thought. Joe