Congratulations High School Graduates!!
As a School Board Member, I am often asked to talk to you about the virtues of higher education and how important it would be to your futures. However, you have already demonstrated the drive, brains and ambition that make your continued education almost a foregone conclusion. So instead, allow me to give you advice not on how to get ahead but how to live life to the fullest.
An obscure old dramatist said it best over 500 years ago." To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, that thou cans`t not then be false to any man." Our society needs honor more than a rising GNP. What you have in your heart is more important than what you have in the driveway. Life can some times be cruel, painful and terribly unfair. It can grind you down. But one thing it can`t do is ruin a good name - the only power on earth that can do that is yourself. America needs people who do the right thing because it is the right thing, People like you. Welcome to the fight.
Congratulations Middle School Graduates!!
You are on your way. Since you started school, you have learned how to read, multiply, up to algebra and much more. You know more than everyone below eighth grade and you only have four more years of guided education to go. Along the way you will learn new things that will shape your perception of the world as if you had been looking at the world with a tiny candle and now you have been handed a giant mega torch. And you will see things you’ve seen before, but in a different way…brighter, sharper, better.
Four years from now you will graduate from high school, reach many goals, learn things you would have never imagined and most importantly, you will have developed into individuals that will have an impact in our society. A lifetime of learning will continue, but your years of structured learning will be over.
So NOW, as we stand here today, I want you to understand the true significance of this part of your journey through life. While the world has a lot to offer, your concern should be on preparing yourself for the opportunities that await you.
BE healthy. Look at your body. It is, by far, the most amazing creation in the universe. It is the most amazing instrument you will ever see. And its care has been handed to you! Why? Because each one of you is special. But you get only one of them. So treat your body with the awe, love and respect it deserves and demand the same from everyone, both the people you know now and those with whom you will come into contact in the future.
BE smart. Don’t just learn the lessons they teach you in high school…. MASTER THEM. EVERY SINGLE LESSON WILL BE relevant to your success. Now, sometimes it is easy to see how something you’re taught in school will help you. Other times, it is not that easy. These lessons that may seem useless are the ones you need to pay special attention to. It will be good training in judgment and wisdom for you to link a difficult lesson to life.
BE kind and generous. You have value, something to offer, through your knowledge, your talents and your skills. That value is like fire which becomes bigger, brighter and better only if you share it. Sharing that value is power. Share your love for learning. Share EVERYTHING you learn in school with others. Make the world brighter, sharper, better for everyone around you, especially those who you love and have helped you along the way. Any time you sense that opportunity to pass on knowledge – TAKE IT. When in doubt – TAKE IT. Tell your family about the poem you wrote, that novel you read, the frog you dissected, that equation you solved, ANYTHING you learned in school – and tell them why it is exciting, why it is fun, why it is powerful. As you show others what you have learned, you will see the spark in their eyes. That spark, my friends, is the fire of knowledge within you that just made their world sharper, brighter, better… and through them, your flame just became more powerful.
BE a leader. Start by leading YOU. March to the beat of your own drum. Lead by example. This is not hard. At this time, you will lead by being a good student. Being a good son or daughter. Being a good classmate. THAT IS BEING A LEADER and it is LEGIT. I kid you not. Down the road, if you find that by being a good person at home, a good student and classmate DID NOT make you a leader, you can call me on it. My number is on the district webpage.
BE wise. You will find that life contains many opportunities waiting to be seized. But it is also full of pitfalls, hidden traps that can destroy your futures. One of the smartest men who ever lived, a Chinese scholar named Confucius warned us all of these traps 25 centuries ago. "An enlightened person can avoid the snares of his enemies; however only God can protect you from your friends." Don`t let your homies, buds or bros, whatever their names, lure youto disaster. That beer they took from their parents’ cooler; that pill from the medicine cabinet; that ride in a stolen car, remember Confucius and beware such gifts from your supposedfriends. Trust your instincts, your gut, … above and beyond anything your homies can tell you. When you get that cold, wrenching feeling at the mouth of your stomach, listen. If it’s telling you that what’s about to happen goes against your body or the lessons you have learned: STAY AWAY. It never fails.
Enough warnings of doom! You are no longer children but young adults. On behalf of the citizens of Osceola County, welcome to the fight.