I remember the day that Jack Michael Green was born. His dad called me at my school to alert me that my daughter was in labor and to urge me hurry to the hospital. I raced around collecting my things and leaving work for my students to do in my absence. I picked up my husband at his job just down the street. We drove as fast as we could to get to the hospital which was around ninety miles away in Beaumont. When we got there we went to the wrong hospital on our first try. Luckily we arrived at the right place just a few minutes after Jack was born and in that moment he captured my heart.
Jack was a happy baby and an ever pleasant child. He was calm and always ready to laugh. He was pure delight with eyes so blue that they seemed to outdo the sky itself. Wedged between three brothers, he took his family middle child role in stride never seeming to get upset or cause drama. He liked to dance, swim, play football and learn. He was a curious soul and a profound thinker with a memory like a trap. He enjoyed listening to the silly stories that I created just for him and when I changed even one aspect of the tales he would remind me of the correct way of telling them. He was always easy-going, an observer, a gentle soul.
As Jack grew he seemed to be a man for all seasons. He loved music and learned to play multiple instruments. He taught his younger brothers to swim and when they began winning medals they always told people that they had learned techniques from the best. He joined his high school theater group and surprised us all with his talent, starring in roles that required him to become characters of many different moods. He excelled and advanced in mathematics and science to the point of becoming an unofficial tutor of his classmates in subjects like Advanced Placement Physics. He knew how to balance life in ways that would confound most adults and one of his proudest moments was becoming an Eagle Scout.
One summer we took Jack to visit San Francisco and Yosemite National Park. He was sweet and threw himself into enjoying every single moment of the trip. He loved walking among the giant trees of Yosemite and talking about philosophy and life. He liked a one man performance about John Muir so much that we had to go see it twice. One evening he and I stayed up half the night watching Forest Gump on a station that had more commercials than movie time. Surprisingly he won a trivia contest at a restaurant the very next day by answering questions about the movie. We visited Monterey Bay and Half Moon Bay where he delighted in the ocean views and running into the icy cold water to jump the waves. We had long conversations about spirituality and our ancestors and other topics that most teenagers don’t seem to care about very much.
Just before his senior year in high school we drove Jack to visit Texas A&M University where he met with members of the Computer Science faculty and he was so taken by what he saw and heard that he knew that he must attend that school. And so he did as a member of Honors Engineering, making the Deans List, winning a design contest and landing a summer internship with a software company in Austin as a freshman. He would later work with a professor in the Computer Science department on a project dealing with virtual reality and then at a large company in Dallas. All the while he was a man with a plan as he took one course after another while continuing to work with the virtual reality study. He knew exactly where he wanted to go and what he wanted to accomplish and did all that he needed to do to get there.
Today Jack Micheal Greene will graduate with honors from Texas A& M University with a degree in Computer Science. Of course the whole family is so proud of him but somehow we always knew that he would be able to achieve any goal that he chose. In addition to so successfully completing his courses he already has a job with Deloitte in Austin, Texas. He’ll be working downtown and living on his own for the first time in a great apartment that he found not too far from his work.
Jack has been highly successful at everything he has attempted to accomplish throughout his life so I have little doubt that he will exceed expectations in his career just as he always had. I suspect that he will also have a very good time while doing so because he is so good at squeezing joy out of life. He’s also going to be a force for good because he is politically well educated and he understands issues and how to deal with them better than even the vast majority of lawmakers.
Jack was named for my father and my husband. He also happens to share the same first and middle names as my brother. In many ways he is an amalgam of the best of all three of these men. Like my father he is a kind of Renaissance man who is equally comfortable with the arts, sciences, engineering and technology. Like my husband he is thoughtful, wise, contemplative, philosophical. Like my brother he is a rational thinker who understands technology and its potential for changing the world. Like all three men he is intellectually brilliant and handsome to boot. With such a combination of characteristics he is sure to have a very good life.
The long sometimes dark journey through the past year has been tough on the entire world. Jack plowed on with patience and determination just as he always does. Today we honor his efforts and wish him all the best in the future. He has made us all very proud and brought sunshine and hopefulness into our worlds that have been so dominated by viruses and unprecedented events. It’s comforting to know that Jack is ready to take the reins of adult responsibility. He is exactly the kind of person that the world needs right now and we feel lucky that he is excited about being part of finding the solutions that we so desperately desire.
Congratulations, Jack Michael Greene! You have accomplished so much and yet the best of what you have is still to come. How fun it will be to watch the next phases of your life unfold!