Wednesday, May 20, 2015

President Griffiths Message to the Class of 2015

Good afternoon.  I am Jerry Griffith, and on behalf of the Board of Directors of Hudson Community Schools, I would like to extend our congratulations and welcome to the students, parents, guardians, family members, faculty, and friends of the class of 2015!

Thirteen years ago, all you soon to be graduates, were all kindergarten students.  Maybe you can relate to this next story.
It was the kindergarten teacher’s birthday and the students decided that they would each bring their teacher a gift. 
The first student, whose parents own a flower shop, gave her a present. She held it and said, "I guess that it is flowers". "How did you guess?" asked the little boy. She laughed and thanked him. 
The second student, whose parents own a candy store, gave her a present. She held it and said, "I guess that is some candy." 
"How did you guess?" asked the little boy. She again laughed and thanked him also.The third student, whose parents own the local diner, gave her a box, which was leaking. The teacher touched the liquid with her finger and tasted it. "Mmmmm is it lemonade?" she asked. 
"No," said the little girl. 
So she tasted it again. "Is it Mountain Dew?" she asked. 
"Noooo," replied the little girl, "It's a puppy."
(take oilcan & place it on podium)

This looks like an ordinary oilcan, but just like the box the teacher was given as a gift, it is not quite what it seems.

It is inscribed as ….


About 34 years ago, when the UNI-Dome was just one year old and the legendary Stan Sheriff was the head football coach, I played defensive end for the UNI Panthers.  During my playing time I was lucky enough to be chosen captain of the football team, named to all-conference teams, and was an academic All-American.  But at the end of the year football banquet, I received, what in my opinion was my most coveted award by the coaching staff, this Oil Can Award.

The coaches gave this award to one team member who helped the team run smoother.  Being one of the first at practice, staying late to study film, mentoring and tutoring younger players.  These were just a few things Coach listed why I got the award, but the truth is, I didn’t know anyone was paying attention to what I was doing. I was truly just trying to make my team successful. I just wanted us to be winners.

So how does an oilcan work?

For those of you that may not be mechanically inclined, you put oil in the body of the can, squeeze this trigger, and from this end comes a small amount of oil that you apply to something to make it run better.
The oilcan is a simple tool, but if you think about it, in the Wizard of Oz, where would the Tin Man be if Dorothy had not found and used the oilcan.  …  He never would have made it to see the Wizard to receive the heart he so longed for. 
Now, graduates, this oilcan is a good metaphor for your life ahead. First, you have to put the correct stuff into the body of the can.  For example, if I used Kool-Aid in my oilcan and tried to oil my bike chain, it wouldn’t do anything to help my bike run better.
Like the oilcan, you have to fill your body and mind with the right stuff. Since you are all sitting here today, I know you have filled your mind with the best knowledge Hudson Schools has to offer.

Now you are filled with potential, but just like the oilcan, if you just sit there and don’t use what you have been filled with, nothing will happen, you just stay in the same place and eventually, like the Tin Man, you will rust.  But, if you pull the trigger and give of yourself to help others you make not only your life, but also the whole world around you, run smoother.

Here is some advice for you, Class of 2015. Get to class or work early and stay late. Do just a little bit more than the next person, and be a willing volunteer for the causes you believe in. Your team may be a fellow classmate or worker, or someday your own family, but the small things you do when you think no one is noticing, will come back to you as the biggest rewards.

I want you to be successful. I want you to be leaders. I want you to be winners. I want you…. to be the oilcan. 

Congratulations Class of 2015!  And Good Luck!

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