By Superintendent Philip Pempin
As we approach the end of another school year, I am always amazed at how much faster each year goes by. It also seems that the older I get the more people remark about how quickly time passes.
It is likely that one reason we feel time is passing quickly is because of the number of activities that are scheduled. This time of year is always marked by traditional high school events in our district such as the Senior prom, Evening of Excellence, Film Festival, Art Fair, spring band and choral concerts, spring sports banquets, and senior scholarship night. All of these culminate in graduation day, which is scheduled for June 4 this year.
Graduation day is a tradition that represents 13 years of formal educational training, and is a transitional point in every young person’s life. The graduation ceremony is also a tradition that usually has a commencement speech, often delivered by a dignitary, celebrity or inspirational speaker who imparts one last message of encouragement to the graduating class. Over the years I have enjoyed watching some of these speeches on YouTube, and some are truly inspirational.
One of the best commencement speeches I have seen was a 2014 address delivered by Naval Admiral William H. McRaven, ninth commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, speaking to the 2014 graduating class of the University of Texas at Austin. Admiral McRaven began his speech by quoting the University of Texas slogan, which is, “What Starts Here Changes the World”.
Adm. McRaven said that he believes one person truly can change the world, but he asked the students, “What will the world look like when you change it?” The remainder of his talk is about ten lessons he learned through 36 years as a Navy seal. For example, the first idea he offers the students is “make your bed every day”. This lesson relates to having order and discipline in life, recognizing that the little things in life matter, and how those habits can lead to success. A second piece of advice was “don’t be a sugar cookie”, a lesson that no matter how hard we try, nothing will ever be perfect, but successful people continue to strive for perfection.
I encourage everyone to watch this short speech. You will feel inspired and encouraged in your own life. You can find it on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxBQLFLei70 , or search for “McRaven University of Texas 2014”.
I believe that we, as a community, have done our very best to prepare the members of the 2017 graduating class for higher education and a career. Our talented teachers have worked hard each day to impart knowledge, plus inspiration, guidance and lessons for life. The value of what was provided here might not be immediately recognized by our graduates, but, as time passes, they will appreciate what was provided to them here.
Good luck to the Class of 2017! We wish you all the best!
Vermilion Local School District Superintendent Phil Pempin will provide the community with monthly updates on school news and events. The focus of this column will be to provide information that will have an impact in and around the community.