My granddaughter, Taylor, will be graduating from South Seneca High School Saturday. Kids I watched grow up as editor and publisher of the Reveille/Between the Lakes at Waterloo, Mynderse Academy (Seneca Falls), Romulus and South Seneca (Ovid) will also be turning their tassels this weekend. Seniors I have come to know and love at Foxcroft Academy (Dover-Foxcroft) marched down the aisle last weekend. And seniors around the country experienced the same milestone. By extension, new chapters abound as students “graduate” from kindergarten to primary school, primary school to middle school, middle school to high school and even post-graduate or the workforce following a college career.
In years past, I always shared some words for the graduates in the Reveille/Between the Lakes. I have a different platform these days — this blog — but the message is timeless and universal, so here’s to the Class of 2018.
You will be hearing that word many times over the next few weeks. But remember it always. You will gain something … more than just a diploma, more than just recognition for putting up with four years of high school.
You don’t realize it yet, but the lessons you learned over the years were a lot more than just “book knowledge.” You learned discipline. You learned interpersonal skills. You matured.
No, you are not just graduating from high school. You are advancing from one chapter in your life into another. In four years – four very short years – you went from an adolescent to a young man or woman, ready, willing and able to conquer and make your mark on the world.
Just as these last four years were transitional, so, too, will be the next couple of years. Whether you continue in school or join the workforce or serve your country, change will be inevitable. Nothing ever remains the same.
We’ll offer some words of advice and encouragement on this, your big day. Dream your dreams. Follow your ambitions. Set your goals. But, above all, be true to yourself. Do the best you can … with an emphasis on the word “you.” You’ll know. You’ve always known when you gave it your all … and so did everyone else. You’ve always known when you didn’t … and so did everyone else.
Don’t try to live up to somebody else’s standards. Set your own. Don’t try to please everyone else at your own expense. Eventually you’ll regret it. Keep your faith and trust in humanity. Look for the good in people and the bright side of every calamity. All things have a purpose … you just have to look a little deeper for some.
Again, congratulations. We applaud your past achievements and we look forward to your future accomplishments. You have to believe you can be whatever you want to be. They key word there is “believe.”
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Don’t be afraid of anything but don’t take chances with your life.