Oki! Bonjour Mesdames et Monsieurs, and Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen and especially to our St. Michael’s Graduates of 2018.
Your graduation quote, “Change is inevitable, growth is an opportunity” leads me to the question, “What opportunity?” We know that some of the growth we encounter is innate, it just happens, like getting taller. And maybe there might be an opportunity because of your growth in height for a great block in volleyball or for rebounding in basketball, but I don’t believe that is what this graduating class meant! I think what they meant around growth was much more personal in nature and more about your own control rather than simply because of the genes passed on by your parents.
To me, growth speaks to potential and your ability to be a learner. In education, we speak of growth as continuous improvement. For years continuous improvement got a bad rap in education. People assumed that the reason for it was that we needed to get better or grow because we weren’t good enough. But that is deficit thinking or worse, arrogant thinking to believe that none of us in this room or out there are so good at what we do, that growth or continuous improvement are not required. Even if you are pretty satisfied with your accomplishments to date, there is always room to grow.
In your life you will have opportunities to grow professionally and personally but I would suggest that within those two areas you also welcome the opportunity to grow spiritually. In my career I’ve met some individuals who are professionally at the top, yet they haven’t grown equally in their personal or spiritual journeys. In fact, they really are not very nice people and quite honestly most don’t really want to spend time with them. Personal and spiritual growth are about balance in one’s life in order to give to others.
You live in the area of the Blackfoot people whose rich traditions in native spirituality are a blessing. Their culture and ceremonies are rich in spiritual growth. You are graduating from a Catholic school whose beliefs embody personal and spiritual growth. You will never lose your way by focusing on your own faith development and your own spiritual traditions.
Growth is a wonderful opportunity… but you must take it! It just doesn’t happen by sitting around and waiting for it. You must search for it, and find your potential in it. Growth is not easy because it pushes you out of your own comfort zone and once stretched by growth you will never be the same or see the world in the same way. Growth should be a never ending journey. And if you take on that commitment to constantly grow and be mindful of the lessons learned from your family, friends, community and school, you will live a life of few regrets.
Be bold in your growth! Seize your opportunity! Let your journey of continuous improvement never fade! You’ve been called to always be the best version of yourself- find it and live it!
On behalf of the entire school division, I wish you congratulations and God’s blessings! Thank you!