Monday, May 21, 2007

where will they go from here?...

A milestone for 63 young lives has been reached at Willow Springs High School for the Class of 2007. Only 13 years ago, these seniors entered the new and exciting world of kindergarten. A world full of swing sets and merry-go-rounds. Kool aid, cookies, numbers, and letters. Secrets, mischief, scraped knees, and band-aids. A world where a helping hand wasn’t far away and a shoulder to lay your head on was nearby. A world where tadpoles and puppies made everyone smile, and fishing with daddy on hot summer afternoons at the river made long days go fast. In this world, curiosity reigned, imagination grew, and exploration began.

Today, seniors, you again enter a new and exciting world. Today’s world is a ride down the information superhighway, a step into new technology, and a jump into the unknown. And with this leap, a nauseous anxiety comes with closing a chapter in your life and beginning a new one.

Physically, life is much different. Metaphorically, life is the same. In this world, again, curiosity reigns:
Can I become a doctor? A lawyer? A teacher? The president? Could I graduate from college? Will I pursue happiness? What is life like in China? India? Europe?

And imagination still grows:
What if I added these lyrics to this measure of music? How can I paint Frankenstein as American Gothic? What types of dance express my freedom and my personality?

And finally, exploration is just beginning:
Where do I go from here? What challenges will I face and which will I conquer? How can I revolutionize the next 10 years? What changes can I make to the music industry? The arts? The medical field? The scientific world? The political stage? How will I affect my family? My community? My nation? My world?

What is it, Class of 2007, that will make you rise to new occasions? To continue your curiosity and imagination? To explore like the historians and travelers of our past and find new frontiers? As graduates in the 21st Century, I encourage you take a leap into the unknown world and write your symphony along the way. How will you make a difference? And what will you accomplish?

As a final assignment in my English class, students write a valedictory farewell speech and share it with their classmates. Through the emotional goodbyes and sincere thank you's, students also take the opportunity to say final thoughts about themselves or their lives. One graduating senior bravely spoke for what I think many felt: “There’s more to me,” he calmly said, “than what I let on.”

What more does the Class of 2007 have to offer? How deep does your surface go? Where will your intellect take you and how will you use the opportunities you have presented to yourself through your hard work and dedication to your education?

You have a lifetime to answer that.

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