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Eight years ago, I sat figuratively where the Spencer County High School class of 2011 will be sitting on Friday night.
I donned my cap and gown and stared into the face of my future.
I was lucky enough in 2003 to have the privilege of addressing my classmates with a speech. I’m lucky enough in 2011 to have the privilege of giving a little bit of advice to this year’s graduates as they stare into their own futures.
Many of you will continue your education by attending the college of your choice, some will receive technical training and still others will go straight into the work force. Some tidbits of information are still valuable – if you ask me – no matter your path.
- Don’t forget all you’ve learned over the past 17 to 18 years – not just your book learning, but lessons you’ve collected from your parents, family and friends. I’m sure you’ll find yourself in both difficult and wonderful situations where a little familiar voice pops up in the back of your mind. Whether it’s your grandma, your aunt, your dad or your best friend, listen to those lessons. They’ve brought you this far successfully, they can do it again.
- Believe in yourself. I know, I know, it sounds kind of lame, and I’m sure you’ve heard it from every source imaginable. But, it’s true. If you believe in yourself and your abilities, anything can happen. You have to have faith in yourself before others will have faith in you. So set your heart on a goal, and believe you can achieve it.
- Apply yourself. Each of us has a talent or two hidden up our sleeves. Grab onto yours and take action. I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason, but I also believe things have a better chance of happening if you take action to make it so. Don’t sit around and wait for life to come to you.
- Know that no matter what you do, you can’t please everyone. Trust me, in this business, I certainly know that is the case. But also, don’t try to please everyone for the sake of getting along. Fall back on your training, your knowledge and your beliefs, and do what you think is right.
- Don’t be afraid to admit you’re wrong – and you will be at some point. No one can be right 100 percent of the time. Whether you made a choice you regret or were simply uninformed about something, you’re only human, and it’s OK to make mistakes.
Graduates, you’ve already made Spencer County proud, and we know you’ll keep up the good work.
I know I can speak for the rest of the staff here at the Spencer Magnet when I say we wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.
Shannon Brock can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.