John Grace

Mr. Hughes the principal loved us all and trusted us to figure out how to be that better person, for whom character would always count.


Sean Hughes: A Reflection

“Dear Shadows, now you know it all,

All the folly of a fight

With a common wrong or right.

The innocent and the beautiful

Have no enemy but time.

Arise, and bid me strike a match

And strike another till time catch.

Run till all the sages know,

We the great gazebo built.

Bid me strike a match and blow.”


I write, but there are no words adequate.

But, I know words are all I have; how do I even try to arrange them to remind me of Sean Hughes?

Maybe I can concentrate on the Light—bouncing in every direction caused by a reflection.

There. That is a good way to reflect Sean Hughes: he is the Light of Lower Merion—and all that any one of us had to do was allow ourselves to move toward that Sean Hughes Light and we could see so much more clearly the fullness of life, the promise and the possibility of every day at LM with Mr. Hughes.

So many of us experienced that type of reflection. So many of us try so hard to see it now.

We think we will see Sean’s Light no longer; but I am wrong if I let myself think it.

I heard a great phrase: “You can’t walk ten steps anywhere at LM without recognizing another example of Sean’s devotion to the details of his LMHS vision—a school building for every student, every staff member, every teacher.” Maybe I said it; seems possible.

It is another truth about Sean Hughes—he dedicated so much of his day and his life to the fact that our school existed for one single purpose—a Lower Merion that gave every student a good place, a safe place, a special place every minute of every day. It is a school for all seasons.

Maybe that is the way I can recall Sean—better than Thomas More, because he is more than a man for all seasons. Sean was a man for all children—for Kate, for Nolan, for Jack—for everyone who carries an LM diploma from the twenty-five years he lived, loved, and led LM, and surely for the ones whom that diploma eluded.

Ok, but something eludes me, too.

There has to be a word, a single one, free and clear, that can help anyone dear to Sean or distant in the future who wants to affirm his legacy.


Sean Hughes knew how to trust, and because he knew it, and understood how elusive it is, and how we often work in a system that values it far less than other goals to achieve; because Sean understood and practiced trust …

… every one of us who knew him, every one of us illuminated by that shining Light he reflected, every one of us who got the piece of him we needed, from that man for all seasons …

… every one of us thrived, because he trusted us to see every day at LM as he saw it—a day to discover a talent, a day to discover a friend, a day to realize that Mr. Hughes the principal loved us all and trusted us to figure out how to be that better person, for whom character would always count.

Thank you Sean, thanks Mr. Hughes, for each of these things.


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