Don’t Give In, Don’t Lose Hope


While your futures lie before you, waiting to unfold, one thing is certain: high school is over and you have all come to your first true milestone in our adult lives. You are no longer high school seniors, you are now high school graduates, ready to move on and face the world. With that said, I would like to congratulate the class of 2019 on achieving this milestone and wish you all good luck in following your passions and fulfilling your dreams.

Nothing worthwhile is accomplished without help from those around us. Your teachers, coaches, administrators, and counselors devoted a large part of their lives to educating you not just in their respective fields, but in life’s broader lessons: what it means to be disciplined, focused, and organized; what it means to be part of a team; what it means to work toward a goal; what it means to be respectful and what it takes to be respected. At times you have felt more burdened than blessed by the lessons, but in at least some small way sometimes unknowingly, sometimes with vivid clarity you will benefit from those lessons every day of your lives.

When the road ahead seems too long to trod, when the hill seems too steep to climb, when it seems impossible to reach the summit don’t give up, don’t give in, don’t lose hope. You must continue to the end. Keep in mind that good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from the mistakes you make along the way. Therefore, in order to reach the mountain top and to reach the height of individual greatness, you must realize that you may have to encounter many failures. What makes you truly successful is how you grow from them. The philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson defined success as the following: “To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!”

As you move forward into the next stage of your lives, you will be confronted with both new opportunities and new obstacles. My message to you is this: Despite all the barriers that may rise and threaten to block your path, you must hold on with great fortitude to your ambitions, because, should you lose sight of and hope for your dreams, your life will never seem completely full. With this in mind, I challenge you to define your success and live up to your own measures with passion and commitment. Good luck and congratulations to you all!