“Not all who wander are lost.”
– From: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

With the exception of brief flights of fancy into interstellar space and Middle-Earth—as well as a few graduation caps lifting off some well educated heads—yesterday afternoon’s commencement ceremony for the Brookfield High School (BHS) Class of 2014 was a down to earth affair.
Brookfield R-3 School Board President Jim McIntyre led off at the podium with some wise words of advice for the graduates: “Surround yourself with inspiring people...Be kind, show respect, be curious and don’t sweat the small stuff...Enjoy the ride along the way...Cherish each moment as the gift that it is.”
In turn, BHS Principal Vicki Enyart cited an impressive list of accomplishments by members of the BHS Class of 2014: As a class, they raised the overall ACT composite score for R-3 to a higher level than it has been for years; one of their number, Salutatorian Andrew Crutcher, was an ACT Bright Flight Scholarship winner, which is accomplished by less than 3 percent of Missouri high school seniors taking the ACT; the Bell Game was won by the Bulldogs all four years the Class of 2014 was in high school; the softball, wrestling, and track teams all went to State; and the BHS Concert Band demonstrated yesterday why they set a school record for State Music Festival ratings.
Enyart then offered one of the most compelling introductions of a class salutatorian or valedictorian that I have heard in 14 years of covering high school commencements in Linn County. With characteristic humor the BHS Principal described how Salutatorian Andrew Crutcher had grown from wanting to be a cop and a comedian because he liked eating donuts and telling jokes to his present intention to pursue a career in computer science as a Certified Ethical Hacker. “Really!” Ms. Enyart assured a dumbfounded audience. The assembled parents and assorted relatives soon had to take note of the ‘Ethical’ portion of that rather dubious job title. Enyart described how, as a sophomore, Andrew had offered to abandon his extracurricular activities and find a job when his family lost everything in a fire, how he gave his services as a math tutor. “His feet are firmly rooted in values, faith, and impeccable ethics,” said Enyart, introducing this year’s BHS Salutatorian.
The title of Andrew’s commencement address, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” gave the audience further cause to wonder how grounded the Salutatorian really is until he cited the book by the same title as a “the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom.” After all, what better source of advice for the graduates.
Andrew selected bits of wisdom from the Hitchhiker’s Guide that he thought might be particularly helpful, such as understanding that “flying is the art of learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.” The comedic side of Crutcher’s persona clearly in command, he cited a passage from Hitchhiker’s Guide that will definitely come in handy if he finds himself in a Southwest Missouri State University dorm this fall: the ability to cross the galaxy without losing track of one’s bath towel.