To the Pen High grad class of 2012, the administrators, teachers, support staff and parents: As my third son crossed the stage at the recent graduation ceremony, my heart seemed to skip a beat. For a brief moment my mind flashed back over all the events that helped him arrive at this point in his life. I realized how lucky I was that for the most part, all of my children (now all young men) have managed to complete this task with minimal disruption.
Graduation is not something to be taken lightly, as it is the culmination of 13 or so years of tireless effort and constant challenges (both social and school based). Whether you are planning on furthering your education, taking time to enjoy life or are one of the many adults that helped along the way, you all deserve a very big “thank you”. One way or another, each of you has contributed to the success of my son. You have taught him, supported him and in some cases even taunted him into participating in events or activities that were clearly not the most sensible. Nevertheless, my son made it, as did so many others, and he will clearly benefit from all the interaction he has endured over the years. Soon he will be off to the next chapter in his life and I can only hope that he will continue to meet caring, interesting and like-minded people along the way.
If I could offer some advice to the students, it would be the same things I have said to my own kids: Think big, be the best “You” that you can be. Always aspire to greatness, as greatness is a personal measurement based on what you want in life. Don’t ever settle but always be thankful for what you have. Don’t ever give up on your dreams but certainly change or adapt them to be realistic. Have some fun along the way and smile and laugh as much as you can as laughter is contagious. Most importantly, please don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. No matter what your plans are, no matter where you are in life, someone will always be willing to lend a helping hand.
If I had a motto in life to follow, it might be something like this: “Always treat the next person you encounter better than you were treated by the last person who encountered you.”