– By Samuel Moore-Sobel
There he was. A small, innocent being entering the world for the very first time. Can I touch him? Nervously, I lean forward. He seems so perfect, so completely serene. He is loved instantly.
The last two months have been replete with graduations. Friends and relatives reaching this landmark moment which encapsulates four long years of academic achievement and hard work. Out they will go to meet an exciting world in which they will be tested; yet, the hope is that the lessons learned will sustain them in college, the workforce, and for the rest of their days. Admittedly, sometimes this is wishful thinking. Life has a way of beating down its most active participants. Yet there is one recent graduate who I have no doubt is more than ready to face whatever life throws his way.
I remember the day my brother was born as if it were yesterday. The excitement over a baby brother had been building for months. My mother spent hours preparing me for a sibling. She was more than patient with my incessant questions, a patience to her credit she has maintained even to the present. Though I could not conjure up the image of what it would be like to have a sibling, at the age of 3, I felt it was time to have someone else in the family. I always have loved an audience. Or maybe I just wanted someone else to love. No matter the reason, it was impossible to predict the many ways in which the trajectory of my life was positively altered by this wonderful new addition to our close-knit family.
I am proud that this once small boy is not only my brother but also my best friend. Noah and I have always been close from the very beginning. We have laughed together, cried together, shared life together. His wit and wisdom never ceases to shine through. Like the time he jokingly informed me of my unhealthy obsession with the presidency. When I asked him how to overcome this supposed malady, he flashed a smile and said, “Become one.” Easier said than done.
It was with great pride that I watched my brother, Noah Moore-Sobel, graduate high school on June 16. As he stood on stage, I could not help but reflect upon the past. Many memories flooded through my head, too many to recount. Looking upon the life my brother has led and the choices he has made, I could not help but feel both awe and affection. Watching his beaming smile in response to finally reaching this milestone, I reflected upon his courage. After spending two years as president of his class at Stone Bridge High School, he courageously transferred to Rock Ridge High School in order to start anew. The reasons were complicated and completely undue to any actions on his part. Not a choice he would have made willingly if circumstances had not demanded it. He flourished despite the obstacles, and in the process built a legacy that is far-reaching, touching the lives of students across the county and even the world.
The past few weeks have seemingly been consumed with traveling along the graduation circuit. I attended plenty of graduation parties, listening to future plans and dreams. Many are excited, full of plans for the future. Yet doubt lingers. Perhaps they have watched their older siblings struggle under the crushing weight of student loan debt. Maybe they have seen the many young adults who have failed to obtain jobs after graduating with a college degree.
Despite the obstacles that await the Class of 2016, there is hope for the future. Sitting in the bleachers, I scanned the sea of graduates. I pondered all of the accomplishments amassed by the class, both collective and individual. It will not be easy, but the initiative shown by these students indicates a bright future. When we were much younger Noah made a habit of asking me in moments of doubt, “Can we win? Can we win in life?” I always responded in a reassuring tone, “We are going to win, I just know it.” He would always smile. In that moment, watching him on his graduation day, I wanted to tell him he had won, with many more victories to come.
Being my younger brother is far from easy. There are moments in which I believe my brother feels that the outsized personality of his older sibling outshines him. After he was elected president of his class, a teacher told him, “Wow, you’re a freshman and you are already freshman class president. You’re just like your brother: A leader.” Yet Noah has become a leader in his own right, serving in far more leadership positions than I ever held. He has grown into a man of quiet strength. His patience is admirable, best exemplified by his willingness to enjoy the journey instead of intently focusing on the destination. Observing my own goal-oriented personality has led Noah to warn more than once, “You can’t force your narrative.” He possesses wisdom far beyond his years. I guess one of his middle names is Solomon for a reason.
For his final news show, Noah gave a speech to all Rock Ridge students that had spent the last two years watching him report the news. He recounted how our mother sent him out the door each morning saying, “Have a good day. And remember, Rock Ridge should be a better place because you are there. Make a difference.” Noah, you have made a difference, and for that, I could not be any prouder.
With all this in mind, I humbly offer a heartfelt congratulations to the Class of 2016. May you enter the world with a clear mind and a kind heart, coupled with a steely resolve to face the adversity bound to come your way. Congratulations, Noah Moore-Sobel. Know that I will always be grateful for everything that you taught me, and will be cheering you on as this new exciting chapter is begun. Your life reflects character. May you never forget where you came from, while traveling to new heights completely unimagined. Your life is an occasion; rise to it.
Samuel Moore-Sobel is very proud of his brother and loves him dearly. He cannot wait to see the ways in which he, along with his fellow members of the Class of 2016, will make the world a better place.