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Each year I share my graduation speech with you on my blog; not because it is awesome but because I hope others who give these speeches will do the same so we can share the positive messages shared with our graduates.

Here is my speech to the Class of 2017.


Class_of_2017Board of Education Members, District and School Administration, Parents, Family, Guests, and members of the Class of 2017 welcome to graduation!

Today you prepare to leave high school and enter into a new world as a high school graduate. At the end of graduation you will walk through the exit doors of high school and enter a world full of endless possibilities.

For some of you it’s off to college. Others are off to start work or training. Others will enter our armed forces. No matter what path you are taking from this point forward, you have the potential to do anything AND everything you want. The world is in front of you and you have a great opportunity to make a wonderful contribution to it.

You will hear a lot of people give you advice and suggestions on how to move forward. You will hear things like… “It’s tough out there”… and you know what… it is! But you are ready for it! Or… “You have to work hard in the real world”… Yes, but you have to work hard in everything you do. And you are ready for this too!

Some of the advice given will help you along this new path, but you will have to decide what works best for you and what will move you forward. No matter the advice you hear, keep these 5 things in mind as you graduate:

Maintain your friendships. Your time as a high school student has ended but that is not the end of the relationships you have created and the friends you have. Although you will not see your classmates and friends every day at school, that doesn’t mean your friendships have to end. Make an effort to stay in contact with your classmates and share your experiences with them as you all move through life.

Find your passion in lifeWhen looking for what you will do for your career, find what you are passionate about, what you love to do, what interests you. If you are passionate about something it seems less like work YOU HAVE to do and more like work YOU WANT to do. Finding your passion will make life exciting and fun.

Give back to your community. Whether you decide to stay in Hamilton or move somewhere else, give back and make the community you live in better. It’s the responsibility of all of us to work toward making our communities better. You have that ability and your community and you will be better for your efforts.

Be a role model for what’s right with your generation. Lead by positive example and let people see that your generation is the role model for generations to come. Do what’s right when people are and are not looking. We need positive role models in all aspects of life. You can be the example for others.

Enjoy what the world has to offer. If you like music, go to concerts, if you like the beach, go down the shore, if you like sports, go to a game, if you like art, go to the museum. Don’t become so focused on your career that you forget about life. Take time to enjoy what is and who is around you.

It’s a great big world out there just waiting for you.

I congratulate you on graduating from high school and I look forward to your future successes.

Congratulations Class of 2017!