It’s graduation season! It’s a happy time for students and an emotional time for parents and family. I love graduation season. I love the hope and excitement in the air and the feeling of accomplishment that you can see on students faces. People everywhere are celebrating all kinds of graduations from Pre-K through college, but this year I’m focused on a high school graduation. Class of 2014 is getting ready to wrap up their high school career and walk across the stage to seal the deal. Class of 2014 is of huge interest to me. I’ve watched class of 2014 grow up, I’ve cried for them, I’ve laughed for them, I’ve been scared for them and I’ve been happy for them. I took great interest in them learning their ABC’s and how to tie their shoes. I’ve watched from afar as class of 2014 has navigated through the obstacles of being a teenager and transitioning from jr. high to high school. I’ve watched them make friends and I’ve watched them lose friends. Class of 2014 happens to hold a special place in my heart because class of 2014 holds something that is very special to me, my baby brother. So class of 2014 as I say what I am about to say please know that I love you as much as I can love a group of people and that I’ve seen your trials and I’ve been in your corner this whole time, but… $h!t’s about to get real. I mean that from the bottom of my heart. Graduating high school is great, I’m so proud of y’all and glad that you are accomplishing high school graduation, but you’re not done. Millions of students graduate high school every year so no matter what you hear this graduation season you actually have not accomplished something amazing. You’ve accomplished something average. What are you going to do next? You don’t have to go to college, but you need to do something. Maybe a trade school? Anything, just don’t stop at high school. High school isn’t enough. I say this as your future employer, you won’t have a chance in getting a decent job in any field with only a high school diploma and don’t listen to anyone that tells you that you can. The world is changing so those stories of people who have a good paying jobs with only a HSD are fading away. When you talk to old timers that tell you all they have is a HSD and they have a good paying job, don’t let them fool you into thinking they didn’t have to work hard to get that good paying job. Don’t let them fool you into thinking that they were never passed over for a promotion because they only had a HSD. You don’t have to get a college degree, but get something. Don’t make your future harder than it has to be, start what you finish and do something more than a high school diploma.
Class of 2014 I love you and I believe in you. Whatever you want to do in life I want you to be successful in it. Celebrate your graduation. Be safe, be smart and make memories. Welcome to the next stage of your life.