06/07/08 — Note to grads: Savor your accomplishments, be grateful, keep dreaming

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Note to grads: Savor your accomplishments, be grateful, keep dreaming

There’s a sense of accomplishment in turning a tassel.

The action — and the receipt of a diploma in your cap and gown — signify the next stage of your life, the passage from child to adult.

So as you celebrate a well-earned graduation day, here are a few thoughts for you about where you have been and where you are headed.

First, look to your right and to your left. The family that surrounds you also deserves credit for your accomplishments. The mother who nagged you about starting early on that report and who made sure you were on time to school even when you really did not want to go, the father who pushed you to get that B when it would have been much easier to skate by and grab a C, that older brother or sister whose shadow you tried so hard to overcome — those are role models. You owe them. And for some of you, the words “grandmother,” “grandfather,” “favorite aunt or uncle” or “mentor” could be changed out or included in that list of people who helped you make it to your last day as a senior.

Now, look back to your school days. There are hundreds of people — and a handful of special ones — who worked hard to make sure you had the chance to learn and encouraged you and challenged you to be your best. You owe them, too. Don’t forget to say thank you to the teacher or teachers who changed your life. Trust us, you will never forget them.

After you have finished all that, look in the mirror.

You have achieved something special. No matter where your path takes you next, you can be sure that having the identifier “high school graduate” after your name is a sign that you have done something to be proud of. And by the way, even though the going might have been rough for some of you, we never really had any doubt that you wouldmake it.

Some of you will head on to college. Don’t forget the lessons you learned here at home. Hard work, honesty, integrity and determination to be the best person and student you can be will be keys to success there, too. Follow your hearts and use your head, you will find the path you are meant to take. What happens after that will be up to you.

And for those who are not sure they want more education, think twice. There are a lot of great careers out there that require advanced training and skills that you have not yet discovered. Consider exploring what it would be like to follow your passion and to keep learning. The best — and most successul — people in any field are those who never stop learning, whether it is math and reading or how to diagnose an engine. You can never go wrong pursuing knowledge of any kind.

And last but not least, some advice.

Your path on the road to adulthood and your future will not always be smooth. There will be times when you will wonder if you have made the right choice or if life is ever going to get easier.

Trust us, it will, as long as you believe in yourself, do what you know is right and seek counsel when you need it. You will never have all the answers. All you have to do is know how to ask the right questions.

Congratulations Class of 2008. Your futures await.

Please don’t forget to come home every once in a while.

Published in Editorials on June 7, 2008 11:56 PM