On behalf of Beulah Public Schools I would like to welcome you to our 2018 Graduation Celebration.  As we begin the ceremony, I’m honored to share a few thoughts with the graduates and all of you.

This will be short I promise but I believe something to be very important.  More important than the final tests you took just days ago.  And more important than your ACT scores, your GPA, your stats in a game, time in a relay, your pitch during choir contests, or expressions during the one-act play.

And I totally get that you just want to graduate, and you’d rather not listen to me right now. But please listen carefully as I tell you what is important and hopefully start you off on the right path as you venture out into the world.

Connection.  Connection is arguably the most important thing you need to be successful.  The world right now needs connection.  Again, more important than your stat line, is this stat.  1 in every 4 students are suffering from some sort of mental illness.  I don’t know the research but I’m going to assume that the same is true for adults.  Many people in the world and likely many of you are hurting.

The world is tough to navigate… never be afraid to reach out and ask for help.  Never be afraid to make a connection.  In doing so never be afraid to tell your story.  You see, every single one of you has a unique story.  Every single one of you is one of one.  There is not one person in this entire world that is exactly like you.  Not one person has your same skill set, and you have this skill set for a reason.  It was given to you and no one else.

But sometimes it takes us listening to others and hearing their stories in order for us to write and tell our own stories.  But many times, stories go unheard and untold because we fail to connect with the people around us.

Advice:  Smile at everyone you encounter.  Greet everyone you walk by.  Stop and talk to the person sitting alone.  Lift people up when they are down.  It is my opinion that the more attention, the more appreciation, and the more lifting of others up, the less that will get knocked down.

But realize this also when you are down.  It’s not about looks.  It’s not about money.  It’s not about location or family structures or situations.  You can create a large batch of success without those ingredients.  None of those things define who you are.  How you act and how you treat others defines who you are.  So really true success has nothing to do with your ACT scores, GPA, your stats in a game, time in relay, your pitch during choir contests, or your expressions during the one act play.  True success is not what  you can accomplish in life, it’s what you help others to accomplish.  And you will find my friends that when you help others become successful…success seems to find you as well.

And lastly seniors and everyone else in this gym today.  Remember this.  The daily circumstances you find yourself in will always be temporary, but a CONNECTIONS will most certainly last forever.

Congratulations to the Beulah Public Schools class of 2018.  Go forth and use your unique skill sets to change the world.

Thank you