Tok came to us a couple years ago, part of that outstanding leadership class. Tok is unusual in many ways, one of which was that he joined as a senior. That has never happened before. But we’re glad it did this time. He decided right away he wanted to be a leader and he ran for president in a very close race. He didn’t win but became an officer as quartermaster. He then ran for treasurer, was elected and did a fine job. When the next elections came up he was at school for a service project. Another officer at school called me to tell me Tok wanted to run for each office. Well, I eventually decided that the office of president was so important that the candidates should be present to run. Had he been there that night, he would have won because he had the votes. He also lost the treasurer’s race. It wasn’t a good night for him and he stayed away a couple of months after that, returning a year ago for our awards cookout. He’s attended almost every meeting and activity since. Last fall he was elected first vice president, an office he was re-elected to recently. And oh yes, he is attending college at USC while holding down his office.
I’ve already talked about his remarkable efforts at public service. But when it came time to think of names for him one quality jumped out at me. You see ever since he’s been in the crew he’s been welcoming to all members, even the youngest. That’s a big deal when a senior is willing to befriend an 8th grader. I remember once when we were going indoor rock climbing and I had Jenny and Lauren in the car and Tok. And after he got out the girls immediately wanted me to tell them what grade he was in. When I told them he was a senior they were stunned. They couldn’t believe someone that much older was willing to be so nice to them. But that’s Tok. And it’s not just crew members. In the two years I’ve known him I’ve received lots of compliments from adults at various activities about how nice he is.
Among Plains Indians, there was a tribe that was known for it’s friendliness. They used it as a defense, making alliances with lots of other tribes so that attacking them would be attacking a lot of other Indian nations. Eventually, the very name of the tribe came to mean “friend to all.” So it is with great pride that tonight I award you the Sioux name of Lakota, which means “friend to all.” Congratulations!