We have great expectations for you, Class of 2018. Even though eyes may tear as you prepare to embark on this great new chapter of your lives, we eagerly anticipate news of the heights you will scale, the goals you will achieve, the changes you will bring to the communities you will touch. To the Class of 2018, we offer this message: 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.
The world you inherit is different than the one which existed on that first day of school. Our country, a land of equal opportunity and equal justice, still struggles to be a land of equal opportunity and equal justice for all.
When the actions of deeply troubled, hate-filled individuals claimed the lives of your fellow students, you stood with each other. Together, you found your voice and you spoke loud enough to be heard above the cries of those who wished to drown you out. You have what it takes to be the catalyst for change, but if history has taught us anything, it is that change does not come easily. Endure, fight, continue to make your voices heard and win the future you wish to see.
You have the confidence that comes from pushing yourself. You worked on projects that enhanced the quality of life in our communities. You spoke out for equality and social justice.
You performed on the local stage, competed in sports, took Advanced Placement exams and classes through Running Start. You expressed your creativity in art and music.
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 sport have more value than a trophy.
You have resilience, something 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. When someone in the community needed help, you joined 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, donning cap and gown and receiving 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.
Good luck, Class of 2018.