Candidates for graduation: I am honored to be among the first to congratulate you on reaching this important milestone!
The date was August 16th, 2001. Your first day of kindergarten. No doubt, an important moment in your academic journey. During your kindergarten year, much time was devoted to learning the processes and procedures that form the norms of schooling. In other words, we were teaching you how to go to school. We answered questions for you like,
- Why we raise our hand to ask or answer a question.
- How you go to lunch.
- Playground rules and the importance of taking turns.
- Walking quietly in a straight line down the hall, and most importantly;
- Who gets to be line leader?
Admittedly, I have only had the privilege of getting to know you these last four years, but it has been a great deal of fun watching you grow from your freshman year in high school into the adults sitting here today. We are proud of your accomplishments not only this year, but all during your time as students here. This school year in particular is certainly one that will stand out for all of us that had the opportunity to share it with you. Indeed you have thrilled us and shined in so many areas. Academically you have impressed us with your achievements in the classroom, attaining scores on college admissions tests that I could only dream of. The critical thinking skills that I have witnessed and the problems that you solved will position you well to solve the problems of our world. Athletically you have thrilled us with nail biting victories, set records and given us memories that will forever be goals and aspirations of classes that will follow. Musically you have carried on a tradition of excellence with amazing performances that have been inspiring, uplifting, and at a level not often seen by a high school music program. But what has been really inspiring and stands out most (for me) is what you have done for one another. This year I have seen you stand up. You have taken a stand against bullying and harassment by leading the entire school district in an effort to be 'Upstanders' instead of 'Bystanders'. You have organized and participated in blood drives that will help save lives. You have collected and distributed food to ensure that your neighbors and fellow citizens are well cared for. There is no doubt that all of the events that have occurred in those years since kindergarten have shaped you into the adults you have become today.
Now you are poised to make, or in many cases already (have) made your first adult decision, and that is what comes for you next. I am convinced that your future is bright! Some of you have decided to become Quality Producers by choosing to enter directly into the work force. Those of you that have elected this path have done so deliberately, positioning yourselves in a manner that will ensure your success. Others have taken the path of Contributing Citizen by volunteering for military service either through direct enlistment or college ROTC and National Guard programs. And yet, many of our Knowledgeable Person(s) will go to college to become engineers, or even cancer researchers. What is most exciting for me is that you all have a plan, a plan that has very little separation between what you want to do with your future and our own goals for you that have been articulated in the Learner Performance Goals.
The last 13 years of school have been carefully orchestrated to get each of you to this point today. Even this ceremony here today includes important symbolism. Along with Mr. Dieken and the Board of Education we led you into this gymnasium. We are your last line leaders. In a short while, we will ask you to lead us as you exit this school not as students, but as graduates of Hudson High School.
You get to be the line leader now.
You get to be the line leader now.