At the end of June I had the privilege as a superintendent to address graduating grad capseniors of the class of 2013. Graduation speeches come in many forms and I’d like to see my colleagues publish their speeches as a resource for us all and a way to show others how we approach this time honored event. In the spirit of sharing I publish my first of what I hope is many graduation addresses.

Good evening and congratulations to the class of 2013!

In an hour each of you sitting here in cap and gown will exit this school and start a new adventure in your life. Your parents, family, friends and teachers wish you the best as you enter this new part of your life.
As you go forward I want to leave you with 3 things to think about:
1. For the last 18 years you relied on the adults in your lives, to guide you, assist you, help you and lead you. As you grew older you became more independent and relied less on us and more on yourself. We are still here for you, but now we begin to rely on you. We will rely on you to guide us, assist us, help us, and yes, lead us. You are ready to take on these new responsibilities.

Be a leader in your career, you community and your family. Set the example for your generation and continue to make us proud of the young men and women you are becoming. 

2. Experience the great things in life and have a passion for them. It’s too easy and a waste of your time to focus on the negative. You’ve heard life is tough, wait until you’re an adult, or you’ll understand when you get in the real world.

Yes, that’s true but so what? Don’t focus on that.

Focus on finding your passion in life. Focus on the great things around you.  You have the ability and right to find that passion in a career, a hobby, in anything. You’ve earned this and deserve it!
3. As the sun sets on today’s celebration and the summer turns to fall you as a class with go in 201 different directions. This is the natural course of life for a graduate. When you do, I want you to remember one of the best pieces of advice given to me;

Don’t forget where you came from.

There are people here in your hometown that helped you get to this point in your life. Some of them are sitting next to you, others are in the stands. These are people who care about you and want to hear of your successes. So take advantage of opportunities to stay a part of this community in some way.

Maintain friendships and connections. This was a great support network for you up to today. There’s no reason it can’t be in the future and as you become tomorrow’s leaders, you will be part of a support network for the next generation of graduates.

Everyone here tonight is proud of you. Be proud of your accomplishments, lead us into the future with a passion but don’t forget the time you spent here.

Great things are on the horizon for all of you. Now is your time. Take this opportunity and make the most of it. I know you will be successful and we will all be proud of you.

Congratulations Class of 2013!