An obituary to a pencil sharpener


photo via Pamono

Winston Churchill once said “we make a living by what we get but we make a life by what we give.” 

The pencil sharpener outside of room 136 certainly gave all that it had to the Hoban community. 

Few objects can touch the lives of people in the way that family can, but the pencil sharpener did exactly that too. The people who were lucky enough to have a locker near room 136 formed a powerful bond with the sharpener, as it was always ready to serve those in need.

“The greatest moments in life come unexpectedly, the first time I sharpened that pencil going into PSAT testing my junior year gave me the absolute confidence to ace that test,” said consistent user of the sharpener Sam Fess. “However, when my senior year hit, which was already marred by the impact of Coronavirus, I found that the one thing I didn’t expect to be taken away – the pencil sharpener – had been taken away.”

Perhaps as a sign of the times, the pencil sharpener was replaced by a brand new hand sanitizing station. While the station may be able to protect us from illness, it wasn’t worth losing one of Hoban’s most beloved objects. 

In many ways, this sharpener embodied everything that is good about Hoban. It was always ready to help the community and it truly embodied Christ in its unwavering service.  

However, what made this pencil sharpener so special wasn’t the amount of pencils it sharpened, it was the high quality product that it inevitably produced. The crunch that the sharpener consistently produced sounded like it came straight from Heaven. When you turned the handle to sharpen your pencil you were met with the perfect amount of resistance. Sometimes students used the sharpener when they didn’t need a sharpened pencil, they just wanted the feeling that came with turning that handle. 

Just when the sharpener’s user thought life couldn’t get any better, they saw the final product. The pencil was sharpened to a perfect tip, ready for whatever test or homework they have to complete. The area around the tip was perfectly smooth, without any pesky remnants of its unsharpened form. It could turn a mediocre pencil into a basically perfect pencil within a matter of seconds. 

Fess continued: “Every pencil I sharpened, I sharpened with the confidence that it would come out the way that God intended. Not only was its product perfect, but the process of sharpening was refined to absolute perfection.”

Fess, just one of the many students impacted by the pencil sharpener, knew the presence of it in the hallway provided comfort to many. It assured countless students that they would never have an unsharpened pencil for class and gave them the necessary boost of confidence needed to ace a test. 

While the Hoban community doesn’t know where the pencil sharpener went after its retirement over the summer, they can only hope that it’s doing well. Hopefully, another school will pick it up so it can continue to spread joy to people in the area. 

If not, it certainly has done its fair share of community service and will continue to be dearly missed among Hoban students. 

To future students: don’t let the memory of the pencil sharpener die, pass down its legend to the younger classes so it is never forgotten. 

After all, people live on through memories—especially sharp ones.