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A word to graduates

Graduation. It’s a rite of passage for our children — cementing their entrance into the adult world after years of schooling. It may mean additional years at school, it may mean a new life in the military or it may mean a real-life education in the work force.

Whatever post-graduation plans students have made, one thing is certain — they’re going to be exposed to a brave new world — and hopefully they’ve prepared with lessons learned from those around them.

Teachers, school staff and administrators have all worked hard to teach our growing teens the fundamentals: English language arts, mathematics, the sciences, history and the humanities. They’ve done their best to equip students with the basics of a good education, and to inspire a curiosity that will serve them well throughout their lifetimes.

Families: parents, grandparents, siblings -— they all serve as important influences on developing minds and have hopefully instilled a strong sense of right and wrong, of community service and of hard work.

Now, though, it’s time for those who have earned their diplomas to take the lead. They must step into the next chapter of their lives earnestly, and pledge to do their best no matter the circumstance. Surrounded by their friends and classmates, they have made their way through years of schooling — some tougher than others. They have learned both the glories of success and the devastation of failure. Hopefully, they now understand that trying one’s hardest makes a difference, and that nothing is gained without effort.

The Class of 2019 deserves our congratulations. Its members have grown up in a difficult world, filled with fire and fury. There are times when the world is kinder, more forgiving, but like all adults, even maturing children must learn to deal with hardship and stress. Let’s do our best to show our support — to teach, to guide and to protect. 

Whether already an adult or whether on the precipice of adulthood, we must all live and work together. The strides our graduates make today will benefit them tomorrow. Let’s lead by example and be the best citizens we can be: hardworking, kind, diligent, thoughtful, altruistic. And, graduates, learn by example —  we’re sure you’ll make us proud.