CLASS OF 2021 Graduation Address
On behalf of the Bremen Board of Education and all the faculty and staff of Bremen City Schools,
we welcome the family and friends of our graduates. What a year it has been, and at times, I was
not sure we were going to make it to this point but I'm grateful to our students, staff, parents, and
community for pulling together and making this school year happen for our deserving students,
especially the Class of 2021.
I've never heard of anyone leaving a graduation ceremony and saying, "it was a good graduation,
but I really wish the speaker would have talked longer" so I'll keep it brief. I started my job in Bremen
with the 2010-2011 school year so this is my 11th time speaking at graduation. Often, as I ponder what to say, I research people from throughout history to borrow profound and timeless advice. This year, though, I am going to quote the great philosopher, actor Matthew McConaughey! I'm not sure he is known for his profound wisdom but he did once say something that I feel is much needed for us all to remember. He said, "Life is not fair. It never was, isn't now, and won't ever be. Do not fall into the entitlement trap of feeling you are a victim. You are not. Get over it and get on with it."
I don't ever recall hearing about anyone, who is highly successful, sitting back and waiting on success to come to them. Successful people go after what they want and regardless of the obstacles, they persevere and keep moving. Life can be extraordinarily unfair and cruel, and the truth is, no matter how much we try to shield you from that, inevitably, you will discover this universal truth. The way I see it, then, you have a choice. You can sit around, dwell on the unfair circumstances of life, and use it as an excuse to not move or you can accept that life won't always be fair but with resilience and perseverance, you keep moving ahead with blood, sweat, and tears! There are some things, about you, that you can't control but you can control how you respond to situations and how hard you work to overcome adversity. That, you have a choice over!
Recently, a friend gave me an article by syndicated columnist, David Carroll. The article was titled, "Finally, an honest graduation speech"! He provided some straightforward and practical advice that somewhat deviates from a typical graduation speech. So, I borrowed parts of his article. Some of my favorites are the following:
Money can come in handy, but it sure doesn't bring you love or happiness. Watch the news and you'll see a lot of angry billionaires.
Sleep is underrated. Get plenty of rest, you won't miss a thing.
Buckle up, use headlights in the rain, and never text while you are driving.
Do a good deed for someone every day without being asked.
A toothbrush is not built to last a lifetime.
Pay your electric bill before they shut off your lights.
Science experiments belong in labs, not in the forgotten food corner of your fridge.
That Tupperware container Mom sent is not disposable. Clean it up and send it back for more free food.
Take a break from your phone every now and then. It's not going anywhere.
Walmart parking lots are not NASCAR practice tracks.
Credit card companies will provide a lot of interest, but not the kind you want.
What you post on the Internet lives forever, as potential employers will inform you when you apply for a job.
Finally, when your car is making an unusual noise, drowning it out with loud music is not a fix.
In conclusion, I want to finish with what I tell every graduating class. The Class of 2021 is forever a part of our school and community. With this diploma, you are forever linked to us and to this special place. My prayer is that you will always be proud that you graduated from Bremen High School! You are Blue Devils, and you will always be Blue Devils no matter where you go. Honor your family, your Alma Mater, and your community by leading with integrity, compassion, and excellence.
On behalf of your family, friends, and faculty, we love you and we are honored to celebrate you, the Class of 2021! Thank you.