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May 12

Chris Smeaton

From the Desk of the Superintendent- Graduation Address

This weekend, I had the honor of addressing two graduating classes within our division. I began my Saturday addressing 242 graduates from Catholic Central High School in Lethbridge. Later in the day, I drove an hour west to Pincher Creek and spoke to 16 graduates from St. Michael School. Although the number of graduates was significantly different and the format for each ceremony was unique, the overall celebratory and faith filled atmosphere were consistently present in both. It is my belief that each graduating class deserves an original address based on their own theme or situation. And, the students, parents and families didn’t come to hear me talk, so keep it meaningful butkeep it  short. Below you can read both of the addresses I made to our students at Catholic Central High School and St. Michael School. Congratulations graduates and sincere thanks to all of the organizers of the gradutation weekend!

CCH Address

Oki! Bonjour mesdames et messieurs and good morning ladies and gentlemen, honoured guests and graduates of 2013. It is my pleasure to bring greetings on behalf of the Holy Spirit Catholic School Division.

Last night at the grad mass, Fr. Kevin talked about your dreams. But I want to begin with your first dreams, the dreams of your parents. Even before you were born, your parents dreamed to hear your first breath, your first cry. When you were born, your parents held you in their arms and dreamed for things like good health and much happiness. When you first started school I’m sure their first dream for you wasn’t that you would get a good grade on your provincial exams but rather that you would like school, you would like your teacher, you would have good friends, enjoy school, have fun and be safe. Although many of their dreams have stayed the same for you, as you got older and especially in high school their dream or maybe even their expectation was for you to finish high school. Now while some of you may think that that is not a big deal, 1 in 4 students in Alberta or 25% don’t complete high school in 3 years. They do not graduate as you do today! Whether it is an expectation or a dream of your parents, you completing your high school and later walking across this stage is significant.

Now however, as you graduate it is time for you to reflect on your own dreams and ensure that they do become your reality. For your dreams to become reality they must come both from your heart and your head! Your heart is all about your passion. It is what you love to do. Your head is all about following that passion and finding a way to make your dream come true. It is about logic and practicality.

But many people forget that part of their dream to reality journey must involve their soul. You see, you will never fully realize your dreams and live a life of contentment without your soul, your spirit guiding you. It is this spirit, gifted to you from God that ensures that your dreams are not all about you alone but about others. Your dreams cannot just be about being the richest, or the greatest but instead must always be about and for others. The world needs you to dream big but not just for you but for others too!

After the fanfare of graduation and your last exam is over, I would ask you to reflect on your dreams. Make sure that they come from your heart, your head but mostly from your soul. If you do that, your dreams will become your legacy and your reality will be one of service to others and will be demonstrated with actions of love. Dream big…for you and for others! And so it is my wish, my hope and my prayer that you ensure your dreams become your reality. Good luck Graduates of 2013 and God Bless!

St. Michael Address

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, honoured guests and graduates of 2013. It is a great pleasure to address our graduates today and bring greetings on behalf of the Holy Spirit Catholic School Division.

As a superintendent, my two favorite times in the school year are the first days of school and graduation. Although they are at very different times in the year, they have many similar qualities. Both are celebratory and provide great excitement. They are beginnings- the beginning of a new school year and the beginning of a life after high school. There is always anticipation of the unknown to come, a few nerves and some pauses in order to reflect on where you are going and where you’ve been.

And so, where have you been? Well, many of you have been at St. Michael’s for your entire schooling, started with Mr. Kuchison and watched him grow up. Many have grown up in this area for their entire life and have a great understanding of the advantages of small town life and rural living. Many have been part of sporting championships which is one of the hallmarks of this school. And ALL of you have been loved and supported by your parents and families and the staff of this school. You are daily recognized as a unique gift from God and today…God is proud!

Now, where are you going? Our fast paced society seems to believe that once you leave high school, you have it all planned. You know exactly what you want to do! While some of you many have a clear path to your future, its okay if you don’t! Whether you have it all planned or not, make sure you take some time to dream big, follow your passion and be the person that God intended you to be.

So now, what person does God want you to be? It’s fairly easy to dream big and more often than not you can follow your passion but it’s not always easy to be the person that God intended you to be. The advantages that you’ve had however are worth noting. You’ve been educated and raised in a Catholic Christian environment that has taught you the importance of charity, of service, of hope and of love. You have learned to be tolerant and understanding, value diversity and demonstrate compassion to your fellow students and others. God doesn’t choose your path in life, you choose that path. What God intends for your life is that whatever you choose; you do the work with charity, hope and love. You do the work to serve others and not just yourself.

You have been blessed to be part of St. Michael School and this community with its deep and rich values and traditions. You have all the tools to dream big, follow your passion and be the person that God intended you to be! Good luck St. Michael Graduates of 2013 and God Bless!

1 comment

  1. Corinne Sampson

    Good job, Chris! Your words have inspired me to look at the choices I have made since my high school graduation. What were my dreams? Did I pursue them? Are my accomplishments for myself, or have they positively impacted others? Am I closer to being the person God intended me to be? Setting one’s direction and frequent self-evaluation are underused tools. Graduates who want to make the effort have a template in your message.

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