Grads look forward to service and success
November 24, 2008 · Updated 7:09 PM
There is something special about being a part of Mercer Island. I moved here when I was 9 months old because my parents wanted me to grow up in a place that values education, family and community. Reflecting back on the past 18 years, I realize they selected the ideal place. It is because of the love, support and guidance we receive from our families, teachers and friends that we, the Class of 2007, move forward with confidence and strength, ready to reach for our dreams.
Within our class, I see tremendous talent and diversity. We are musicians and artists, scientists and humanitarians, writers and athletes, each of us blessed with a unique combination of gifts and a great potential for success. I encourage you, my classmates, to nurture your special talents and focus on your greatest interests, because they will become the path to your personal success. I believe that if you pursue your goals with enthusiasm and persistence, you can accomplish almost anything.
To me, success is not just about being a scholar; it is about using my abilities to make a difference in the world. I will carry the spirit of Mercer Island wherever life takes me, remembering that a truly accomplished individual dedicates himself, not just to personal achievement, but also to the betterment of society. After you all settle in at your new address this fall, I ask you to look into the community and find a meaningful way to contribute, whether you teach an underprivileged child to read, volunteer with the elderly or work at a food bank. In this way, we will spread the values that we have learned here on Mercer Island to new places across the country.
Class of 2007, let’s cherish the friendships we have made, stay connected and support each others’ journeys. When we next come together as a group at our 10-year reunion, we will celebrate our individual achievements, be happy for each other’s successes, and look back and saw we were a part of something great.
As we leave Mercer Island, that which has been familiar to us for so long, and embark on our greatest transition yet, I am reminded of the confident words of journalist William Allen White: “I am not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday, and I love today.”
Dear Class of 2007,
Tonight each one of you should sit on this stage proud. We have finished high school. Tonight college, traveling or work isn’t a vision anymore. Tonight it all becomes real. We are taking our first steps into the real world and I’m sure it probably hasn’t hit most of us that this journey we call high school is over ...
In a few very short months we all will be embarking on our new lives, forced to make new friends, take new classes and be overwhelmed by new faces. We are all about to face new challenges, life struggles and test our personal strengths.
As each one of you does this, I would like to leave you with a piece of advice: Life isn’t sweet. We won’t be handed gas money, mom won’t do our laundry anymore, most of us will be living off Top Ramen or macaroni and cheese, but there isn’t a doubt in my mind that all of you will be successful. We will be forced to face life’s demons. Many of us will encounter obstacles we won’t want to face but don’t let those obstacles obstruct your ability to achieve a goal.
Set a goal for yourself, and don’t be afraid to aim high and chase it. Chase it just like you chased your first crush in kindergarten on the playground. Chase it with passion. As you sit here, think of all the obstacles you have overcome to be here on this stage and how much you have personally gained from them. Don’t lose sight of the future. If you fall, pick yourself back up. Don’t lose faith in what you have the potential to do.
Don’t forget to thank the people who helped raise and educate you. Don’t forget to thank your parents for all of the times they grounded or embarrassed you in front of your friends because it only made you stronger. Don’t forget to thank the faces sitting next to you, who have shared memories and watched you grow up. Don’t forget to thank the little kid inside of you for never losing hope and having fun. Don’t forget to live in the moment, because you may never get it back.
I feel honored to be surrounded by so many accomplished 18-year-olds, and not many people can say that. Congratulations class of 2007, it’s been amazing.