It is an honor to represent the Kootenay Lake School District at several of our graduation ceremonies throughout our District. These special occasions give us opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of our students.
At each ceremony I attend, I am given the opportunity to share a message to our Graduates. This year, with slight adjustments for each different context, this is the message I gave. My focus was “milestones.”
A milestone is but one of a series of markers along the journey of one’s life. Milestones are reference points and can be used as a reassurance that the right path is being followed.
Sometimes graduates look upon graduation as the beginning of “real life” – as if the life journey between birth and now has had no relevance or meaning in one’s journey. This couldn’t be further from the truth. From birth until now you have become who you are today. Your curiosity and the opportunities you have had have helped you to become passionate about many things, to develop areas of expertise, and to learn any number of skills and competencies – all of which will combine to help you along your life journey and through much further learning. So, this celebration is important – but to me it isn’t the milestone. The milestone – that reference point that will be used as a reassurance that the right path is being followed – is the combined experiences and relationships you have formed to this point in your life. In fact, it is YOU who is the milestone. Who YOU are at this very moment in time will largely define who you become because you will always look back at the you you are today – and use this as a reference point.
I hope that you are proud of who you are. I hope that you feel prepared to make good life choices, and to pursue the opportunities that come your way. I also hope that you are strong and resilient, confident young people who will be able to face, and then learn and grow from the challenges life brings to us.
Today is a celebration for you – but it is also a celebration for those who have helped you along the way. Your parents, your community, your teachers and many of our staff who have worked with you and watched you grow and mature are very proud of you. Graduation is not an accomplishment that is enjoyed by the majority of the world; in fact, today you join a small minority in the world population. This has been, in part, due to your hard work – but it has also been a conscious decision by our community to give you the gift of education. Be sure to say thank you to those who have been by your side for the whole, or even a part of the journey.
And so, my advice to you is to treasure this moment. Etch it in your brain as a reminder that will be with you for the rest of your life. But mostly, treasure who you are right now. All the best to you in whatever choices you make throughout your life!