Dear Class of 2014,
Congratulations on reaching this milestone in your life.
As you stand on the threshold of adulthood, prepared to take on the world, here are some things we want you to know.
A lot of resources have been invested in helping you get to this stage in your life. If we failed in anything, it was this: Not anticipating that the world you would inherit would be so different and uncertain than the one that existed that first day of school.
But you have what it takes to survive in this brave new world.
You have the confidence that comes from pushing yourself. You raised market animals for 4-H, earned money to go on school trips, performed on the community theater stage, competed in sports, took Advanced Placement courses, collected food and raised money for local food banks and other causes. You participated in community projects here and abroad.
You know about teamwork and fair play, both in the classroom and on the sports field. When competition was tough, you did your best and were a good sport. You offered a hand to an injured opponent. You gave credit to your teammates, knowing the victory was a shared accomplishment. You enjoyed the competition even if a title was out of reach, knowing that the friendships, good health and self-discipline that come from competition have more value than a trophy.
You have resilience, something that you learned from living in this unique place. All of your life here, you’ve seen how your community won’t say “no” when the chips are down. And this year, when someone in the community needed help, we saw you join your neighbors in coming to aid. When tragedy struck other parts of the country or the world, you joined your neighbors in responding with compassion and giving. When a local cause needed support, you joined your neighbors in meeting the need.
And now, here you are, ready to don cap and gown and get that well-deserved diploma. Sure, the world poses different challenges for you than it did for us on our graduation day. But you are ready. And your community has confidence in you.
Even though eyes may tear as you prepare to leave, we eagerly anticipate news of the heights you will scale, the goals you will achieve, the changes you will bring to your communities.
Good luck, Class of 2014.