Northern Wyoming Daily News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Karla Pomeroy

Graduates: What happens next is up to you


May 20, 2017

It’s graduation time and with that comes a time that I feel obligated to use this space to try and impart some wisdom to our area high school graduates.

But sometimes it’s hard to come up with new material so I went old school or rather I went back to high school for this column. Thursday night I did some research – I watched my own graduation from Hot Springs County High School again, or at least most of it.

I wanted to remember what wisdom I tried to impart as a 17-year-old valedictorian to my fellow classmates. The message wasn’t bad, but the speech writer needed some work.

I don’t want to bore you all with my entire speech but here are a few excerpts:

“Here it is graduation and everyone is thinking what happens now? Where do I go? What will I do? Who will I become? The decisions you make on these questions will determine your life.

“Everyone here will be going their own direction, some to college and some to work. We will each set their goals for their particular life. We all have goals. There is a place or an objective we are trying to reach. With hard work, determination and help from our friends we can achieve these goals.

“Life will become full of exciting challenges and yes, a few dull moments. How much excitement or boredom there is depends solely on you. You are the one who is living your life. No one can live it for you. If you don’t like how things are going you can always change them, if you have the will and desire. You are free to be yourself and become who you want to be, not who someone else wants you to be.

“Never underestimate yourself because you may be surprised at what you can do when you set your mind to it.

“So as you go out into the big wide world, make your life yours and make it special. Make sure you are getting what you want out of life and that you are not cheating yourself.

“Most of all be happy – with yourself and with what you are doing.”

After listening to myself, I also wanted to listen to our graduation keynote speaker. I have never been able to remember his name, only that he talked about Coca-Cola and Oreos, both having milestone anniversaries in 1986.

For the class of 2017 — your notable anniversaries, according to Time Magazine are the 100th anniversary for the U.S. entering World War I (April), the 10-year anniversary of the first iPhone (in June), the 25th anniversary of the Mall of America opening (August), the 75th anniversary (February) of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s executive order to relocate Japanese Americans into internment camps; 20th anniversary of the premiere of the TV series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”; and according to USA Today it’s the 80th anniversary of Spam, Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” and “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien, the 40th anniversary of the original and best Star Wars (now Star Wars Episdode IV: The New Hope), and the 50th anniversary of the release of the Beatles “Sgt. Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band” album.

He, Jack King, actually made some interesting points tucked in with stories about the board members he grew up with and his life history. He said when you look at life – look at it and consider whether you see the hole or the donut – there’s a difference. It’s basically up to you to decide whether you see the glass half empty or half full.

I ended my speech with a poem. Unfortunately, the speech writer didn’t attribute the poem. I believe it actually came on a graduation card I was given that year. I tried researching it on the internet but to no avail. So at this writing I’ll attribute it to Hallmark.

It’s titled “It’s Up to You.”

“A diploma’s very special, it’s like a golden key

“That turns the lock on any door marked opportunity.

“But one thing to remember if you want to get inside

“It’s up to you to give the nudge that swings it open wide

“It’s up to you to take the lead once you’re inside the door to see if what’s behind it is what you’ve been looking for

“And if it is, you have to mold it, really push it, tug it too, until that opportunity becomes a big success for you.

“So use your key but be aware, it’s just a key at best, and remember that it’s up to you to go and do the rest.”

Congratulations Class of 2017.


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