As each of you complete your years of public education, I want to leave you with some thoughts that will hopefully be of some value to you.
There are many of us in Brown County Schools who have watched you grow up and mature. We have enjoyed watching you learn and helping you accomplish the process of preparation for becoming contributing adults in a free society. We have been impressed with the many talents you have been blessed to receive and develop.
Your abilities give you great opportunities for the years ahead. Some of you have decided on a career path and others are still exploring. The unknown future carries the excitement of potential achievement, great happiness, adversity to be overcome and unlimited opportunities for those who are willing to sacrifice to reach for great goals.
Each of our teachers and administrators wish all of you every success and the happiness of accomplishment.
As you approach the crossroads of high school graduation, you are about to enter a new phase of life. I can tell you from my perspective that the challenges of one’s teenage years will look easier to overcome with each passing year. You will have more responsibility, more obligations and more freedom as you complete high school and go to your varied destinations.
As you look forward, remember that you live in the greatest country on our earth. We have many problems and many weaknesses within our system. Some of you will work to solve those problems which our generation has been unable to solve. To live in a free country where you have choices to make and where 13 years of education have been provided to you by all of our citizens gives you an advantage over much of the world’s population.
I urge you to make that advantage work as your own advantage. We are all competing with people from all over the world. We must realize that the world includes many people who have had to work for every scrap of food and every possession that they have. To compete with them, the members of our class of 2016 must have a work ethic that recognizes the competition and is willing to outwork people within and outside of our country.
As Memorial Day nears, it is also important to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our way of life. You have been given the opportunities you have because so many have fought and died for our way of life. Remember those brave individuals and honor them this Memorial Day.
Remember also your parents. Nearly all of them want you to have a better way of life than they had. Think about your family members who are gone. They thought of you and made sacrifices for you in the years before you were born.
As our commencement service approaches on June 4, I want to ask you to make wise choices in your personal lives. There isn’t anything that negatively impacts a graduating class more than a tragic accident where some member or members of the class are hurt or worse.
You will be exhilarated as this day approaches. Make good decisions. Don’t place yourselves in compromising positions where you are tempted to make the wrong choices about alcohol, drugs and behaviors that you could regret for the rest of your life. Do your celebrating in moderation.
You are accomplishing the completion of public school education. This is your most significant accomplishment to date — the completion of 13 years of work.
DRIVE CAREFULLY. We believe that beautiful spring weather is the most dangerous time of the year on our roads. Think about it. Concentrate on your driving and your responsibility to operate your vehicle. Let’s achieve our goal of no accidents and no one hurt as you graduate.
We are so proud of what you have accomplished. You have earned accolades at the state level in a number of areas. Some of you will soon serve our country in a branch of the military. Our deepest appreciation goes to those of you who will do this.
Some are going on to more education. Some are going into the workforce. To all of you, we say, “Congratulations!”
Continue to look for learning opportunities in every experience. And look for ways to help your fellow person. The experiences of helping those in need will bring you the rewards of happiness and satisfaction for a lifetime.
I have watched 44 groups of seniors graduate during my career as a teacher, coach, athletic director, assistant principal, high school principal, assistant superintendent and now as your superintendent.
You will be the final group with whom I have had the honor to work.
I personally wish each of you the best that your life ahead has to offer.
David Shaffer is superintendent of Brown County schools.