2016Each year, I share my graduation speech with you on my blog, not because it’s awesome but because I hope others who give these speeches will do the same. So we can share the positive messages we share with our graduates. Here is the Class of 2016’s speech.

Welcome to Graduation!
Each year, when I write a graduation speech I think about what happened during the past year. While writing this year’s speech, I attended our preschool students’ Moving Up Ceremony. As I sat waiting for our preschoolers to march in, 20 multicolored chairs, red, blue, yellow, and green, sat empty.

In this moment I thought about what the next 13 years will be like for them, until they sit in these same chairs, in this same gym, on their graduation day as the Class of 2029? I also began to think about what has happened since all of you were born, entered school, and now sit here as graduating seniors.

It’s an understatement…  but a lot has happened.

We have experience danger, terror and difficult times. But we have also experienced amazing changes in the way we do things, how we live, and how we interact with people all around the world. From the time the first person in Spotswood high school class of 2016 was born until today, some amazing stuff has happened.

We have seen our cell phones become smartphones with more power than the desktop computers we had 18 years ago. We’ve seen Internet go from dial up through AOL at painfully slow speeds to wifi being available across the county at lightning fast speeds.
We saw my beloved Yankees dominate for almost a decade of your 18 years. Advances in Health care have cured diseases and saved lives that were once thought lost. We’ve gone from having to look up something in an encyclopedia to having the knowledge of the world at our finger tips with one click of Google. What did we do in BG, Before Google?

And during your first 18 years, thousands of new words have been added to our language because of all this change. Some of these words include:

Buzzworthy

Emoji

Hackspace

Selfie

YOLO

and  Sharknado – no joke, look it up.
These are just a few small examples of how much change has happened in just 18 years.

What will your next 18 years bring? Honestly, I have no idea….. And neither do you. But what I do know is that the next 18 years are going to be tough, challenging, changing, but most of all…  AMAZING!

WHY? Because you will not only be part of it but you will make it amazing.

We need you to be part of the change and progress.

We need you to be involved.

We need you to be the next leaders in our community, our state, and our nation.

We need you to challenge what has always been and look for ways to make our lives, our communities, our nation better.

We need you to defend our rights and stand up for what you believe in.

There will always be challenges, problems, concerns and issues. There will always be people that say you can’t, you shouldn’t, or don’t get involved. But if you commit to making the next 18 years, and longer, amazing we will be able to manage the negative and build off the positive.

For your first 18 years, you watched, experienced, and benefited from all the changes. It’s now your time to make it happen for your fellow classmates, parents, family, friends, and people you’ve never met. Including those 20 preschool students who filled those blue, yellow, red and green chairs during their move up ceremony last week. What they will experience until they sit here will be a direct result of your efforts and the work you will do.

Make their next 18 years as amazing as others made the last 18 for you.

Congratulations class of 2016.

Go be AMAZING!

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