To all the friends and family visiting us today, welcome. To the Class of 2014, congratulations. We have learned a lot these past fourteen years, through countless classes and even more endless hours of studying. Everything we’ve worked for is being celebrated today. Some of the most important life lessons we have learned all these years—from teachers, parents, coaches, ministers, and even each other—are also countless, but important. As we go forward on our own in our next adventures, it’s going to be really important to remember everything we’ve learned. I’ve found that many of these lessons can be found in quotes from one of our favorite childhood authors—Dr. Seuss.
One of the best examples is this: "Everything stinks until it’s finished." How many times did we complain about big assignments? How many papers have we procrastinated until the very last minute to write because it just seemed so dreadful? Probably several. The point here is that sometimes you’ll have to do things that aren’t necessarily fun or enjoyable…just necessary. Look at all the work you’ve done to get to this point. It was worth it, right? In the future, it’s going to be the same way. Whatever you may do after you walk out of here today, you’re going to have to work for it. The journey to get there may be long and tough and discouraging at times, but when it’s over, it won’t seem so bad anymore. The benefits of your hard work will pay off, trust me.
Dr. Seuss also writes: "You can get help from teachers, but you are going to have to learn a lot by yourself, sitting alone in a room." Many of us have found this out the hard way in the last few years with AP and concurrent classes. Though this is the most obvious connection to the quote, it also applies with real life situations beyond the classroom. There is going to come a time, or maybe you have already experienced this, that you have to do something on your own. You will have to take it upon yourself to decide your next move and follow through with your plans. This leads into another quote: "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better…it’s not." The dreams you had as a little kid of doing great things and changing the world don’t have to go away. The best thing you can do is to greet each new day with all of its challenges with hope and the heart of a servant.
Many of you will recognize this one: "You have brains in your head/you have feet in your shoes. / You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. / you’re on your own/ and you know what you know/ you are the guy (or gal) who will decide where to go." The meaning here is clear enough. God has blessed you with the capability to do anything you set your mind to. The only one that can stop you…is you. Take what you’ve learned here at Carlisle High School and apply it. Apply the math, English, and history skills, but also the life skills you’ve learned during your time here: how to work hard, how to interact with people, how to speak up when you need to and how to hold your tongue when it’s necessary.
Now come the sentimental quotes: "…seems like we just got started and then before you know it, the times we had together were gone." This is so very true. How many of us felt like it would never be our turn to be right where we are today? Contrary to what we thought, time has flown by, this year in particular. I know that I, and probably most of you as well, have said little prayers here and there for time to slow down. The next few years are going to fly by as well. The last Dr. Seuss quote I want to share today is this: "Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory." Oftentimes we are so eager to get through with something that we forget to take time to smell the roses until it’s too late. This is my advice to you. Cherish today, and cherish every day to come. Tell those you love that you love them, and be the change you want to see. You have the power to better the world. To my classmates, congratulations again. I leave you with this: "Today is your day. Your mountain is waiting…so get on your way."