College, high school and eighth grade graduation ceremonies are taking place in the nation's schools. It is a time of joy, smiles, hugs and tears.
Graduation is a major milestone in a person's life ... no matter what age they are. All the work in the classroom and nights of studying culminate in the student being handed a certificate that states all requirements have been met for graduation.
Like it or not, graduates will not remember what the speeches were about at the graduation ceremony. Very few ever do. I sure don't.
On the day of my high school graduation I could see my parents sitting in the audience and the pride on their faces as I walked across the stage to receive my diploma. So many thoughts raced through my mind ... how important education was to them, how determined my parents had been that I had the opportunity to go to high school, how much they had sacrificed so I could.
After graduation you will start down your life's path ready for new experiences, meeting new people, taking on new challenges. There will be twists and turns you could never foresee, but with determination and drive, you will continue to move forward.
You'll make plans only to sometimes see them fall by the wayside. So you'll make new plans. You'll learn how to adjust to the ups and downs in your lives.
There will be times when you feel that you have failed in your endeavors. However, that should only make you stronger. Figure out why it happened and how to turn that failure around.
And when you experience success in whatever you choose to do, don't forget to thank everyone who helped you get to where you are ... beginning with your parents and teachers.
Never forget to help others for by helping someone else you help yourself. You learn to appreciate all you have and sharing only makes your success even sweeter.
Learn from those who have traveled before you but don't be afraid to blaze your own path.
Diplomas are bittersweet. Especially for high school students, graduation day is the last time you will be together with all the people you went to school with. But as the years pass, the memories of your days together will surface now and then, especially at class reunions, and you will chuckle. Those memories will help to hold you close even though you all go your own way.
Congratulations to this year's graduates. May your journey be filled with wonder, success, happiness and peace.