Celebrating the Graduates!


The Quest for Growth

Karen and Jay discuss the meaning and importance of graduations as we celebrate the many graduates during this special season of the year.


This is the time of year when we celebrate graduations. We honor the years of hard work and sacrifice as well as the milestone achieved. We also celebrate new beginnings – adventures and goals on the next horizon. And, we do this because it is in our nature. We each have a ‘quest for growth.’ A human desire for personal development, to take the next step and to fulfill our full potential.

So, as we experience the months of May and June, we welcome graduation season, a moment where we celebrate the educational achievements of those we love. Whether it be a son or a daughter, wife or husband, or even a friend, sharing this incredibly special moment with the ones we love not only creates fond memories, but acknowledges their continued growth as individuals. This year, graduation season has a particularly distinctive feel to it. After the disruptions caused by the pandemic, many schools have been able to once again bring back their commencement ceremonies and give students at all levels across the country the praise they deserve for successfully completing their studies. A welcome celebration of the next chapter.

As we celebrate with them, graduation is symbolic in many ways of how we move through life. We’ve discussed at times the concept of “enjoying the process” and “winning the day” here in the Sunshine Report, and graduation season reminds us that life is part of a process, a process where we grow, and learn, and then graduate to new chapters of our life. Though often associated with school, the concept of graduating doesn’t necessarily have to be tied to a degree, it can also be tied to events in our lives or things we’ve worked to achieve. It could be ending a relationship that was no longer fulfilling and eventually starting a new one, leaving a job you loved for a new one, moving to a new city in search of new opportunities. Throughout life, we graduate many times, but we tend not to perceive it that way. If you think about it though, the idea of ‘graduating’ tends to imply a positive moment in our lives. And if we frame our lives to look at important life events, even those that may initially cause us pain or hurt, in this same way, we can grow positively, and graduate, there’s that word again, into a new chapter of our lives and ideally, into a better version of ourselves.

The author Louisa-May Alcott, best known for her novel, ‘Little Women,’ once said, “Life is my college. May I graduate well and earn some honors!” It’s a great quote, a powerful one at that, which reinforces the idea that life itself is a series of lessons, each one, happy or sad, that we can learn from, graduate from, and grow from. So, whether you’re on your way to earning a degree, graduating this spring, or at another part of your life’s journey, remember that at each stage, there will always be moments where we’re graduating to a new chapter. And with each new chapter comes the chance to advance, to make progress, and to flourish.


New Hampshire Inventions – Did You Know?

I am sure all of us have at least once in our lifetime set an alarm clock, put coffee in a coffee maker or used a piece of Tupperware. Maybe you have spilled something and needed a paper towel? While you’ve probably never realized it - did you know that all of these handy items were invented here in New Hampshire?

These are just a few of the many examples of both every day and extraordinary items that were invented right here in the Granite State. For instance, In the late 18th century, Sir Benjamin Thompson, who lived in both Concord and Portsmouth was fascinated with the distribution of heat and invented the drip coffee pot, double boiler, and the kitchen range. In 1787, Levi Hutchins from Concord invented the first alarm clock.

There is nothing more Western in a western movie than a stagecoach. While coaches have been around since the 13th century, the Concord Coach – stagecoaches used for mail - were invented in Concord, New Hampshire, in 1827.

In 1919, inventors at the Brown Company in Berlin, New Hampshire were trying to improve paper making and discovered paper towels. One of the inventors, William E. Corbin, once mayor of Berlin and known as the ‘Father of Paper Towels,’ started the Nibroc paper towel brand in 1922.

Another well-known invention is Tupperware. Earl Tupper from Tupper Plastics Company in Berlin invented the plastic storage containers in 1938.

Still used today in the computer world, The Beginner's All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code (BASIC), was invented at Dartmouth College in 1964 by John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz.

According to Article I, section 8 of the United States Constitution, patents are recognized as protecting inventors from others stealing their ideas. One of those patents is held by Ralph Baer of Nashua, New Hampshire, and engineers William Harrison and William Rusch, for the first interactive video game in 1969. If you happen to be at Arms Park in Manchester on May 21st, you can sit beside the statue of Ralph Baer and join in the celebrations for his 100th birthday. Or visit the nearby SEE Science Center that is hosting a year-long exhibit honoring Ralph.

Next time you make a cup of coffee, spill something, or need to store food, you will know that New Hampshire had something to do with it! There must be something in the New Hampshire air that stimulates innovation and encourages the entrepreneurial spirit!


David Rogers and FIRST

David Rogers is Chief Development Officer at DEKA and a great friend of the Sunshine Initiative. In fact, it was through David’s efforts and help that we were able to introduce a robotics program into Newport High School – a real ‘game-changer!’ Thank you, David!

As you may know, FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics is the non-profit initiative that Dean Kamen founded to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic) education. It’s also one of the centerpiece programs that David and his team are using to help change the world!

FIRST Robotics is one of the best ways to inspire a young person to pursue a career in science & engineering. The key to the program, and why it’s so engaging, is that instead of homework and tests - students build robots and compete to solve technical challenges.


The program which was started here in New Hampshire 30 years ago, has grown to thousands of schools, as well as many countries around the world. But it’s been difficult to expand into the schools where technical mentors and resources for equipment are less available.


David recently told us “Bringing more students into STEM careers required us to rethink some of our approaches, and so we began a research program, funded by the National Science Foundation to better understand how to do this. In partnership with Arizona State University and Morgan State we’ve been exploring new models and ways to leverage new technologies like the Raspberry Pi Pico, a powerful new microcontroller designed to help students build their own projects.


The first year of the program was very challenging, launching during COVID. We faced significant disruptions from students not being able to meet in person, to severe supply chain issues with the availability of robotics components. But these circumstances led to some unexpected benefits, prompting us to design resources that students could use from home and manufacture more of the components here in the United States. We’re excited to put what we’ve learned into practice and advance new concepts that will provide an opportunity for every student to participate.”

We are excited about the opportunities to partner with David and the DEKA team on something that can powerfully change the course of students' lives as well as fulfilling a huge need in our organizations and ultimately helping not just the communities we are serving but our country!


Positive Profile of the Week: Peter T. Paul

This week we are delighted to highlight a successful and generous New Hampshire native – Peter Paul. Peter has not only achieved a great deal, but importantly, he has also helped provide opportunities to so very many and supported numerous worthy causes.


Peter was born and raised in the small town of Troy in the southwestern part of the state. Growing up as the son of the local physician, Peter learned at an early age the importance of helping others. As a kid, Peter would often accompany his father, Dr. Samuel Paul, on house calls and saw first-hand the difference people can make in one another’s lives.


He was raised in a home where both of his parents were deeply devoted to giving back to their community. The Paul family’s commitment to their community is most notably recognized at the Troy recreational facility that is now named after Dr. Samuel Paul who worked with residents to create a living war memorial following the Second World War.


Peter is a proud graduate of UNH where he earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and would go on to receive his MBA from Boston University.


He is currently the Chairman of Headlands Asset Management LLC, an investment management company he founded in 2008. In addition, he is owner of West Biofuels, a research development venture, as well as Peter Paul Wines. He is also Chairman of The Headlands Foundation, a non-profit organization he founded in 1995.


While serving on the Board of Trustees for Boston University, Peter started a Career Development Professorship Award, which supports junior faculty in advancing their careers.


In 2008, Peter made a $25 million-dollar challenge grant to the University of New Hampshire which allowed the university to build a brand new, state-of-the-art, business school. That investment in students and future generations didn’t stop there, he also started a scholarship called ‘Paul Scholars’ to help qualified students with their educational opportunities.


In addition to his commitment to expand educational opportunities to students, Peter’s generosity can be seen throughout our state. Whether it’s helping fund projects in his hometown of Troy, supporting the NH Food Bank, or sponsoring various charitable events around our state, Peter is truly living up to his family legacy of giving back.


We celebrate Peter’s success and are grateful for his positive, giving spirit as well as the opportunities, he has helped provide for so very many. We extend our heartfelt thanks. Thank you, Peter!

Quotes of the Week: Learning and Growth

Learning is an active process. We learn by doing. Only knowledge that is used sticks in your mind.” Dale Carnegie


Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” Benjamin Franklin

The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.” Harvey S Firestone

If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone.” John Maxwell

If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone.” John Maxwell