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A Charge to our Graduates

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For over two decades I've watched as bright-eyed graduates, sometimes timidly, sometimes boldly, step into the next phase of life with excitement, wonder, and great expectations.  On the Maclay graduation stage you are flanked by the teachers who have invested their lives in you.  There is a long line of teachers standing behind you...never forget that we all become who we are by standing on the shoulders of those who have pushed us, taught us, carried us, and propped us up from time to time.

Now is the time for you to stand on your own two feet, time for you to fight your own battles away from the safety of the Maclay community, time to take responsibility for your own lives.  We have worked very hard to help you gain self-confidence, so you do not buckle from the burden of responsibilities that await you ahead...are you tough enough?  I wager, yes, you are.

We as parents tend to baby you.  Terms are tossed around about us, such as helicopter parents, swooping in to save you at the first sign of discomfort or strife.  Now is the time for us to step aside and provide you with some space to become self-reliant; tough enough to survive in a world that moves very fast, and full of people with strong opinions that, often, do not match yours.

We have allowed you to explore your boundaries in a safe environment.  Just like your parents, we have allowed you to love and hate us all at the same time; Allowed you to blame us and lash out at us and in return, we gave you grace, direction, and love.

Now, you are ready to walk away from all of that.  Very soon, you will realize what all of your hard work has been for.  As you enter your freshman year at your new school, you will find that you are more than prepared for whatever the professors demand from you.  You will remember all of the essays Berk , Day, and Norment made you write and as you distinguish yourselves in your new environment, remember your alma mater, because we will always remember and be proud of you.

The world awaiting you moves fast, can be unforgiving and expects the best from you every day.  Some days you may lose your resolve – pause, breathe, find it again.  Remember the long nights of studying.  Remember the balancing of academics, extracurriculars, family, relationships, and everything else.  Those skills developed here will be put to the test, but you will rise above because you have done so time and time again.

In James Thurber's short story, "The Sea and the Shore" he writes about lemmings and their odd tendency to frantically run off a cliff or into the sea in a panic...for no logical reason.  I'll save you the details, but he says the moral of the story is that "All men should strive to learn before they die, what they are running from, and to, and why."

This, my graduates, is the path we have readied you for. 

So, class of 2018, may the sun shine warm upon your face, may the wind always be at your back, and as your journey takes its twists and turns, always be able to look back and say, I spent my time loving people, taking risks, and doing good work that will remain past my life, and in those things, find what you were running from, and to, and why.

So, follow Jared's advice, and choose your own path

Follow David Ross' advice and love all of life, and fear none of it

And Follow Mercy's advice to be resilient in adversity

Graduates and alumni,

We have opened the door, now, you are ready to run through it.