Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen, honoured Guests and a warm welcome to our St. Mary’s Graduates of 2019. It is always a pleasure to attend your graduation ceremonies and bring greetings on behalf of the entire school division.
Many celebrities are often told to never forget where they came from. In other words, don’t become too big for your britches. There is an important lesson there in that although your past doesn’t necessarily define you, it certainly can assist in shaping your present and be helpful in framing your future. But often, we make the mistake of not just honoring or remembering the past but instead many, especially us as adults, live in the past. We yearn for days gone by, how things used to be and ultimately remember the past much better than it actually lived. For too long, education lived in the past. We believed if only we could only get back to basics, or if students could just sit still and be compliant or if there were less PD Days or… But that is not the present and it is certainly not the future.
Remembering the past is more about learning from it and reflecting on the lessons it has taught us. We can’t afford to live in it. We must build on the successes of the past and move forward, not move back. And that is why we celebrate the present. Graduates, it is your time now. It is your time to take what you’ve learned these past years, both in school and the many life lessons out of school, celebrate your accomplishments and then move forward to forge a better future.
Just as you can’t live in the past, you cannot stay in the present. All of us must be future oriented. Regardless of whether you are continuing to post secondary or jumping right into the job market, today must lead to a better tomorrow. A better tomorrow is rarely about personal gain and doesn’t come as one big event. It is quite simple and it has been with you in your years in Catholic Education. A better tomorrow is about being more kind and more gentle, more patience and more positive, more giving and more grateful. It means being a better son or daughter, a more loving parent or grandparent, a more supportive friend and just being a more caring individual.
When we do that then we can truly celebrate the present because we are now building a better future. Graduates, you’ve been given all the tools in the past from school, home, parish and community to move from your current present to a preferred future. It is your time to remember. It is your time to celebrate! And it is your time to build the future you want to live in!
Congratulations grads of 2019. May God Bless you on your journey!