Sequoit Media

Dear Class of 2018

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You made it! You made it and I am incredibly proud of you. Over the course of the last four years, I have seen you grow, mature, perform, compete, achieve, fail, succeed, stumble, win, lose, smile, cry and laugh. In the end, you made it and you ought to be incredibly proud of what you have collectively accomplished while at Antioch Community High School. On the precipice of your graduation, it is important to look back on and celebrate where you have been; however, you will soon be charged with looking forward, too. Before you leave ACHS and embark on whatever it is that has called you, I want to offer some sage advice from someone (me) who has been and will continue to be a proud champion of yours. I am talking to each and every one of you…

First, regardless of where you are headed, do your best to enjoy your journey. Life moves incredibly fast and I submit to you that it is a lot more fun when you are enjoying the ups, downs, challenges and victories. As you know, life comes with seemingly unending obstacles. When faced with them and while you are navigating them, try to do so with an attitude of optimism and hope. Surround yourself with others that believe, live and act in a similar way. I can promise you, the tough times will be much more manageable and you’re more likely to find the fun, enjoyment and satisfaction in the entirety of the journey, not just in the accomplishment of the goal or task.

Second, in whatever you do, find your passion within it and know your why. Hard work, extra time, sacrifices and difficult decisions all come much easier when you know why you are doing something. For the past eight years, my why has been my daughters, Calla and Bryn. The only way that I can work to ensure that they benefit from an education that is fraught with access, opportunity, support and a pathway for their success, is to ensure it is something we afford every student. So, my work has revolved around creating the conditions that I believe any student would need to be able to feel a sense of belonging and be able to achieve, including my own children. Once I understood my why, my work became more fun, more engaging, and, hopefully, more impactful.

Third, find a sense of urgency in what you do. At times, motivation can be hard to come by. Many of us have been the victim of the rut or the routine that seems mundane and uninspiring. To keep pressing forward, to keep engaging in the work, to keep a sense of focus and to keep your passions burning, find urgency. For me, the urgency lives in the immediacy with which we must ensure our schools are safe, welcoming, inviting and conducive to learning for all. This sense of urgency makes late nights, deadlines, time away from family and the day-to-day grind both palatable and insanely motivational.

Finally, as quoted in one of my favorite songs by Mumford and Sons, “…with urgency, but not with haste.” In other words, a sense of urgency is great, but you mustn’t work, act, lead, or live hastily. Rather, your decisions, risks and progress toward your goals and in light of your passion must be calculated, thought out and purposeful. To succeed, achieve, and really make a difference inspired by your why, you have to leave your comfort zone. At times, you will have to act, decide, think, move and/or work differently. You must be willing to do so, but make sure you are selective and intentional. Your why, your passion and your dreams are too fragile to run through life with haste.

Class of 2018, I sit here in amazement of what you have achieved and in awe of the incredible potential that lives within each one of you. You have left an impact and legacy on both ACHS and me. Now, you are charged with defining and establishing your impact and legacy on the world. Regardless of where you go or what you do, enjoy the journey, find your passion, act with urgency, and be cautious of haste. You will do incredibly well…I just know it. All the while, I will be on the sideline cheering and pulling for you. Always, I will be available to champion, support and/or be a resource for your work.

Good luck and thank you for the most important thing of all: the memories.

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Dear Class of 2018