Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen, honoured guests and St. Michael’s Graduates of 2018. I always look forward to attending this graduation ceremony and am honored to bring greetings on behalf of the school division. St. Michael’s Bow Island is so unique not just because it is a small early learning to grade 12 school but more importantly because it functions as a true community. I believe it is because of that community spirit and that family atmosphere that the graduates of 2018 will be able to fully embrace their grad theme this year, “New Worlds to Travel.”
There is an assumption that your grad theme, “New Worlds to Travel” means leaving Bow Island and for some or even all of you, that might be the case. But I think your grad theme speaks more about the new opportunities you will have in front of you. The question for you then is, “Will you take on those opportunities or will you simply be content with playing it safe and maintaining the status quo? “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”
You weren’t formed by God, educated in St. Michael’s and reared with love by your parents and families to simply play it safe! And although we could use people like authors J.K. Rowling and Stephen King, entrepreneurs like Colonel Sanders or artists like Shania Twain to demonstrate how one can overcome adversity in life and persevere to make it to the top, it is not about becoming rich and famous! It is more importantly about stretching your own self, failing forward to learn and grow, and continually getting better. What I’m asking of you, along with your family and community, is to always strive to be the best version of yourself and not of anybody else.
The safe confines of this school, which you have come to depend on for many years is no more. You are about to embark on a new journey that is not necessarily physical in nature (i.e. a move) but rather a journey that will impact you socially, emotionally, and/or spiritually. Embrace it! Accept the challenges head on! Welcome the twists and turns that you will face as you live your life to the fullest! I’m not talking about reckless abandon but rather living a life with passion and purpose. Passion… and purpose!
Although you are just starting out on this wonderful journey, I want you to imagine yourself 25 or 30 years from now. What legacy do you want to create? How do you want to be remembered? It seems so far away but I’ll guarantee your parents will say how quickly these last 12 years have gone by. Imagine your preferred future and begin setting the stage to move closer each and every day.
New worlds to travel doesn’t begin out there but in here. It begins with your heart, your desires, your passions and your purpose. Your community has positioned you well to go forward and so… go forward!
I wish you my sincerest congratulations on behalf of the school division and may God bless you in your opportunities taken, challenges faced and roads travelled! Thank you!