Doug Creamer: To the Class of 2019
I went to my 34th graduation as a teacher. In the 18 years I have been at East Davidson we have had all our graduations outside on the football field, except this year. After days of rain, the field was too wet for graduation, so we held the ceremony in the gym.
Leading up to graduation, I encouraged administration to pursue some way to stream the ceremony. I am not sure how it all worked out, but in the end we offered a live stream. So after the seniors headed down to the gym, I headed to my air-conditioned classroom to watch the festivities. It was great to have a front row seat in a comfortable chair, watching the senior Golden Eagles soar.
In our technology driven society, we need to find ways to provide more things like that for our students and their families. My mother watched her grandchild graduate from the comfort of her home. It allows people to participate who may struggle to physically be there. I am glad to have been able to attend several of my nieces and nephews weddings virtually.
One of my favorite parts of graduation is listening to the inspiring speeches. Two of the seniors gave speeches. The first young lady reminded the seniors that today one door was closing and another one was opening. It is the beginning of a new chapter in their lives.
I liked that she talked about the various destinies that each of them faces. Our destiny is often determined by our career choices. Some of the students will be putting on military uniforms and defending our country…to those, I salute you. Some will pursue careers in the arts or sciences. Some will go to the community college, while others will attend universities.
The second young lady reminded the seniors that there were parents and teachers who want to see them succeed. She talked about walking through the trials of life and maintaining a positive attitude. She told the students to surround themselves with extraordinary people who will push them to higher levels of success.
One other thing she talked about is being a hero. She defined that as someone who helps at least one other person. She thus challenged the students to lead a life of helping others. She told the students to make wise choices so they could lead a life they would be proud of…which would bring them joy and happiness.
I love to listen to the students and reflect on what I would say to a graduating class if given the chance. Here are a few thoughts from a teacher with 34 years’ experience:
Try to find something that you enjoy doing that someone will pay you a living wage to do. Many people hate their jobs. You are young and now is the time to make some good choices so you will enjoy your career. If you love what you do, you will never have to work a day in your life. I have loved being a teacher…most days.
Choose your mate wisely. Life is more fun when you can spend it with someone you love and who loves you. Work at the relationship. That means you still need to go on dates even after you have been married for many years. Staying connected is vital to a fulfilling relationship.
Choose those you call friend wisely. The people in your life will either build you up or tear you down. We are all destined to walk through difficult times in life, and having a friend who will lift you up, or even carry you, can make all the difference.
Finally, and probably most importantly, connect with your Father in Heaven. I know that many people carry a bad image of a father because theirs wasn’t there, or was a poor example of a godly man. Your Heavenly Father is perfect. He loves you with agape love. He is always on your side and wants the very best for you. He is not a Santa Claus who grants wishes, but a loving Father who will stand with you through the good times, and especially, the bad times.
I want to encourage you to connect with God. Connecting with Him implies that you will read the Bible. Start with Matthew and read Jesus’ words. Pray and talk with your Father in Heaven. He will hear you and talk with you if you are willing to listen. Make wise choices and commit your ways into His hands. He will never leave you or forsake you. Good luck, graduating seniors…go out and soar.
Contact Doug at email@example.com