A Heartfelt Message of Gratitude, Forgiveness and Love

Families and students in attendance at the 2018 NHS Induction Ceremony heard a rare blend of wisdom and wit from Mr. Tom Draski – with famous quotations ‘peppered in’ for emphasis.

The Fenwick National Honor Society (NHS) recognized 147 seniors at this year’s induction ceremony held Oct. 14th at St. Vincent Ferrer Church in River Forest, IL. Science Teacher and Tennis Coach Mr. Tom Draski was invited to address the inductees and their parents. (Mr. Draski is the 2018 Rev. George Conway Outstanding Teacher Award Recipient.)

Mr. Draski

Mr. Draski prepared remarks mixed around teaching ideas, personal stories and quotations. His speech was themed around the NHS’s four pillars and on a personal message: Seven words that can make you rich.

1st NHS Pillar: Scholarship

Mr. Draski questioned the group on how smart they really were:

  • Are you smart enough to recognize good friends?
  • Smart enough to recognize the wisdom of their parents?
  • Smart enough to recognize what makes you happy?
  • Smart enough to see thru problems?
  • Smart enough to recognize how unique and special God made you?

To highlight these points, he employed quotes from Mark Twain, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Christiane Collange.

2nd NHS Pillar: Leadership

How do individuals inspire others to do more than they thought they could do? Are you a leader in your family, among your friends? Quotes used by Mr. Draski to highlight leadership came from John C. Maxwell, Robin Sharma and Mary Pickford.

3rd NHS Pillar: Service

Mr. Draski stressed remembering service, to each other, to our country, to our planet and to God.

  • Service is our beliefs and thoughts turned into action.
  • Service can happen all the time, not once in a while.
  • Service is sharing peace with others.

Quotes used to highlight this pillar came from Saint Mother Teresa, Sister Mary Macaluso and Mary Kay Ash.

4th NHS Pillar: Character

What is character?

  • If you have character, you always do your best.
  • If you have character, you are a person with a giving heart.
  • If you have character, you know the real secret of happiness.
  • If you have character, you look on the bright side.
  • If you have character, you know what is important to fight for.

Quotes used to highlight character came from John McCain, Thomas Edison, J.M. Barrie, Henry Ward Beecher and Abraham Lincoln.

After talking about the four pillars of NHS, Mr. Draski gave the group a message on how to become rich. It involves investing in the use of seven words. These seven words may not make you rich financially, but your heart will overflow with treasure:


Mr. Draski emphasized the importance of using these words to anyone who has made an impact on your life in many different ways — from teachers, to coaches, to friends and classmates, to relatives, to people you meet only once in your life, and especially to your parents. (Quotes used in this section by Mr. Draski were by Albert Schweitzer, Georgia O’Keefe, and Confucius.)


Mr. Draski mentioned times we put off saying we are sorry. Don’t put it off. Feel a weight lifted from you and gain respect from another. (Quotes: from Louisa May Alcott.)


Practice saying I love you often. Don’t be afraid of saying I love you. Tell your friends you love them. Tell your parents you love them. And tell all the rest of the remarkable people in the world who have made you who you are, “I love you.” Mr. Draski used quotes in this section from Walter Winchell, Jennie Churchill, the Bible-Leviticus 19:18 and Erma Bombeck. “I love you all,” he told the church audience.

Two final quotes:

“Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later.” – Og Mandino

“Don’t stop now, boys and girls.” – Hawk Harrelson

Mr. Draski finished with a reading of the inspirational poem called “The Winner,” which he has used with his sports teams for more than years.

The Winner

If you think you are beaten, you are; 
if you think you dare not, you don’t; 
if you’d like to win, but you think you can’t, 
it’s almost a cinch you won’t. 

If you think you’ll lose, you’ve lost, 
for out in the world you find 
success begins with a person’s will. 
It’s all in the state of the mind. 

If you think you’re outclassed, you are; 
you’ve got to think high to rise; 
you’ve got to be sure of yourself before 
you can ever win the prize. 

Many a race is lost 
before a step is run; 
and many a coward fails 
before ever his work’s begun. 

Think big and your deeds will grow; 
think small and you’ll fall behind; 
think that you can and you will. 
It’s all in the state of the mind. 

Life’s battles don’t always go 
to the stronger or faster person: 
but sooner or later the person who wins 
is the person who thinks he can. 


2 Replies to “A Heartfelt Message of Gratitude, Forgiveness and Love”

  1. Good job, Mr. Draski, you are a role model and that is a responsibility that is 24/7, and it should be greatly appreciated! James P. Hester, MA, CADC “66”

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