Former Supreme Court Justice David Souter Inducted into Concord High Wall of Fame 


Monitor staff 

Published: 06-14-2023 5:38 PM

Former Supreme Court Justice David Souter felt like he had returned home when he spoke to a group of high school seniors and their families at Concord High Tuesday night. 

“This gathering is like a welcome home party,” Souter said. “One does not necessarily think of a big high school as home, but for three years it was my intellectual home.” 

The occasion was Concord High School’s first annual Wall of Fame induction. Souter, who graduated from the school in 1957, is one of two inaugural inductees. He is joined by General Edward Brooks, class of 1911, who died in 1978. Brooks’ grandson stood in to accept the honor.

Photographs of Souter in high school – sitting among his football teammates or posing with fellow student council members – flashed across a screen as he reflected on his time at Concord High School. 

“One teacher here in this school was the finest teacher I ever had in my life,” Souter said, including educators from Harvard and Oxford where he received his undergraduate and graduate degrees. 

“He loved the subject that he was teaching and he loved teaching it,” Souter said. “And implicitly, what that teacher was conveying to us was a rule for life… the obvious need to love what you do.”  

Souter quoted a Robert Frost poem that he said encapsulates that lesson. 

“Only where love and need are one, 

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And the work is play for mortal stakes,

Is the deed ever really done 

For heaven and the future’s stakes.”

“That couplet by Frost is the best career advice I ever ran across,” he told the group of high school seniors, soon to embark on their postgraduate lives. 

Concord High School principal Michael Reardon had his own words of inspiration for the class of 2023. 

He asked the soon-to-be graduates to imagine returning for their own induction into the Wall of Fame, years in the future.

“It’s an honor you’ve earned because you’ve taken on the challenge of leadership or because you’ve done special and hard things in your career, or because, most significantly, your work has made the world healthier, safer, happier, more just,” Reardon said. 

After remarks from Souter, Reardon and others, school administrators ushered the crowd to Main Street, at the crossroads of the school’s east and west buildings, where the Wall of Fame is located. Concord School Board president Jim Richards led the unveiling.

“The purpose of this wall is twofold,” said Richards. First, it honors the alumni who have made a positive and historic impact in their careers. Second, Richards said, “it’s to remind each of the students that pass here every day that they too have the opportunity to make a lasting and meaningful impact in the world.” 

“They don’t always realize how remarkable they are,” he said. “And their achievements have yet to be written.”