Dear Class of 2002: We congratulate you for all your hard work that is paying off on this day when you are finally getting that diploma. Everyone in the county is proud of you. We know it takes a lot of effort to get yourself to school on time, study for tests and successfully collect enough credits to win the right to put on that cap and gown. It’s time for celebration.
But we ask you to do something that is unselfish amidst all the celebration. First, include more people in your party. Invite a couple of kids that you don’t know as well as others — ones you suspect won’t be having parties of their own or others who maybe aren’t as popular as you are. Give them something positive to remember about this graduation. Be generous.
And don’t forget your own family in your happiness. Too often, we’ve watched parents, who are so proud they’re about ready to burst, searching unsuccessfully for their children who’ve already taken off after the ceremony for that blow-out celebration with friends. They are left standing sad and alone on that big field. Remember that, without them, you wouldn’t be where you are. They taught you to tie your shoelaces. They stood with you in your triumphs and — most importantly — in your failures. You tell your classmates that you’ll be friends forever, and that may or may not be true. But your parents will be there for you always, and you’ll only appreciate them more as you get older. Give them a chance to celebrate with you. Give them a good memory, too.