Special Note - This is my graduation speech to the senior class of 2018. This group is very special to me as they have done so much to help our district learn, grow and excel. I congratulate them for their accomplishments thus far and can’t wait to see all they accomplish in the future.
Good morning. As the superintendent of Blue Ridge Independent School District, I'd like to welcome you to the 2018 Blue Ridge High School Graduation ceremony. Graduates, today we celebrate you, for you have achieved a great milestone, and in doing that, it is very important that we recognize those who have helped you on your journey.
First we need to thank our board of trustees for establishing the vision for you to receive the very best education that will lead you to a prosperous future. Board members, will you please stand so we can thank you for your leadership.
Graduates, you are almost to the finish line, but you didn’t get there alone. There are some very special people that you must thank. First, let’s honor our parents. They have done so much to raise you, clothe you, feed you and instill in you the values of character, respect, hard work and responsibility. Without them you would not be here today. If you are a parent of a Blue Ridge graduate, will you please stand to be recognized.
For 13 years of your life, you have spent the majority of your life in a school, and educators have helped you along your journey by giving you the knowledge and skills that will prepare you to be successful adults, but even more they have taught you the values of kindness, service, and leadership. If you are a teacher or staff member at Blue Ridge ISD, will you please stand to be recognized.
Last, there is one reason and one reason only that we are here today. We live in the best nation in the world where each and everyone of us has the freedom to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The greatness of our nation and the future of our prosperity is guaranteed each and every day by the brave men and women who sacrifice their lives to defend and protect our way of life. If you are a veteran or active member of the US Military, will you please stand to be recognized.
Graduates, you are an amazing group of men and women. You have accomplished so many things that have made Blue Ridge a wonderful school in so many ways, and we sincerely appreciate you for all that you have done. Now a new chapter is about to commence. This new chapter is called “The Real World”, and I must warn you that it will not be as easy as you think, but this chapter is no different than the challenges that Blue Ridge Tigers before you have experienced.
In 1943, seventy-five years ago, Blue Ridge ISD Superintendent M.W. Fagg delivered a similar message to the seniors of 1943. His message can be found in a yearbook donated by Mr. Billy John Dickson that is now on display at our administration building. In 1943, the United States was in the middle of World War 2, and during that time there was a tremendous amount of uncertainty about the future of America and the world that those 1943 graduates would inherit. His letter reads as follows:
To the students of 1943, this year marks off another rung of the ladder that you are climbing to success. You have the best wishes from all who have been associated with you this year. I sincerely wish for you the greatest of all the pleasant things that life has to offer. You have had to leave off some of your extra-curricular activities, but you have taken the sacrifice splendidly just as all American boys and girls should do.
Neither you nor I can definitely say as to what you have to face in the future with our world situation. But I’m sure you can handle the situation as capably as did our forefathers, and make this America, that we all love, a brighter and stronger place in which to reside.
Graduates, this time capsule message from 75 years ago still rings true today in 2018. While we are not in the middle a World War, you are walking into a world that is ever-changing and here’s the main idea. You are now inheriting this country. I challenge you to love our country, love your community, build a family and love them with everything you’ve got. I challenge you to make our world a better place, but more importantly, I challenge you to not fall into the trap of being a skeptic, a cynic or someone who always complains. This world has enough whiners, but what this world needs is more winners. You are winners, and you were built by your wonderful family and by this great district to continue your journey a winner. Now all you have to do is go out there and make it happen. Graduates of 2018, I wish you the best of luck and may God bless you, the graduating class of 2018.