Saturday, December 8, 2018

#342 / Last Day Of Class

Thursday, December 6, 2018, was the last day of class in LGST 196, the "Senior Capstone" course I teach in the Legal Studies Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz. 

As I teach it, the course revolves around an exploration of "Privacy, Technology, And Freedom." Each student writes a "Capstone Thesis" related, in some way, to these themes. While the last class day has now come and gone, the theses from the students will soon arrive in my email inbox! I always look forward to seeing what the students have to say about such powerfully important topics. 

On the last class day, we have a class celebration, with each student reading "Acknowledgments," identifying those who have helped the student advance to and through college. These student presentations are often quite moving, and not infrequently bring tears to my eyes. I try to add in my own thoughts, usually by quoting a verse from "Mississippi," a Bob Dylan song, and a verse from a play by Ugo Betti, The Burnt Flower Bed. These valedictory words can bring tears to my eyes, as well:

Well my ship’s been split to splinters and it’s sinkin' fast
I’m drownin’ in the poison, got no future, got no past
But my heart is not weary, it’s light and it’s free

I have nothin’ but affection for all those who’ve sailed with me

Bob Dylan, "Mississippi"

That's what's needed, don't you see? That! Nothing else matters half so much. To reassure one another. To answer each other. Perhaps only you can listen to me and not laugh. Everyone has, inside himself ... what shall I call it? A piece of good news! Everyone is ... a very great, very important character! Yes, that's what we have to tell them up there! Every man must be persuaded - even if he is in rags - that he's immensely, immensely important!

Ugo Betti, The Burnt Flower-Bed 

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