"Has been a lifesaver so many times!"
- Catherine Rampell, student @ University of Washington
"Exactly the help I needed."
- Jennifer Hawes, student @ San Jose State
"The best place for brainstorming ideas."
- Michael Majchrowicz, student @ University of Kentucky
It is a privilege to be here to speaking tonight to the Class of 1998. As I thought of what I
should speak about tonight, I tried to think about "What would a high school graduating senior
want to hear?" I believe the first and foremost thing they want to hear tonight is their name over
the PA, and walk across the stage to receive their diploma. Secondly, I think they would want to
hear about the tremendous job that they have done in their 4 years here at Columbia City High
School. Finally, I think they would want to hear something about what is getting ready to
happen to them. I will do my best this evening to accomplish those things.
Your name will soon be called over the PA for something other than to come to the
attendance office to explain why you were absent yesterday. Yes, you will hear your name to be
recognized for achieving your last and biggest accomplishment at Columbia City High School.
Graduation is a time to be proud of what you've just accomplished and to think about all the
things that you have done in your journey to get here. When you think about that journey, you
will remember friendships, teachers, dances, competitions, your favorite class, and your worst
class. The administration, faculty, staff and the board of education will hope that you remember
some content of knowledge about the subjects that you have just completed.
We all have dreams and aspirations of being on center stage and hearing our name
praised. I would like to take a moment to maybe help in some way to make that happen for you.
Most of you right now know exactly what you want to do with the rest of your life, others have
an idea, some will change their mind at some point, and others are terrified about having no clue.
The single most important thing I could tell you about deciding on what you want to pursue in
life is something that you have a great "Passion" for. Whatever drives you, excites you, or you
have a tremendous love for that is probably your calling. Some of us search our whole lives
trying to find a purpose, meaning, or sign of what to do, and it invariably comes back to
something we have a great "Passion" for. If what you do has tremendous meaning to you,
consumes you, and is something you care deeply about you will hear your named being praised,
because you will do it to the best of your ability and nothing will stop you.
As I witnessed a number of you being honored last Friday at the Honors Convocation,
you have every right to be extremely proud of what you have given to CCHS over the last 4
years. I was amazed at the number of you that were involved in so many different organizations.
I have not been in the community long, but have been in communities long enough to know;
when a group of young people like yourself represent our school and community in the manner
that you did, your legacy will long be remembered and your leadership hard to replace. Our
school is beginning to change a little as the future is upon us, our success and opportunity to
grow is a reflection of the many hard and long hours you have put into our activities,
organizations, and most importantly our classrooms. Your class has played a major role in
academic, debate, and athletic teams, clubs and organizations, choral and band, and brought our
school a number of championships and honors. While trophies, plaques, medals, and banners
will be there to remind us of your accomplishments. The true award for us as educators, parents,
administrators, and patrons of the community is having the opportunity to be a part of your lives
in your quest for achieving your goals. Being able to observe and take part in your successes and
failures makes all of us a little better somehow.
I want to take a minute to talk about something I just said. "Failure". Often times we are
not to speak about failure because it represents in many of our minds something bad. There is an
old saying of "Something bad must happen for something good to happen." I don't know if I
believe that, but what I do believe about "Failure" is that you should not fear it. We all
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