Peace & Good Morning Students, Family, & Staff. I am so very proud of you and your accomplishments. I am honored to stand in front of you right now but don’t forget that the work has just begun and this is not the time to relax or get comfortable. Now is the time to take this momentum and build on your success.
Believe it or not, I was a straight A student for a brief period of time. VERY BRIEF! But by 4th grade my life began to change drastically. My parents reconciled and as quickly as my father re-entered my life, he passed away. I wish I could share with you some great quote he left me but one of the last things I remember my father saying when I told him I wanted to be an artist is, “Boy, you can’t draw!” Several other family members and friends died that same year and by 9th grade my family and I buried on average 3 people a year. My grades slipped and I went from being an honor roll student to having a GPA that bounced around from a 2.5 to 2.0 through most of High School.
When I discussed college with my mother, she told me that I probably wouldn’t get accepted into college because my grades were too low. She thought I should join the military. That same year a motivational speaker came to my school and although I can’t remember his name, I remember him saying, “To avoid people who tell you, you CAN’T do something.” Although I couldn’t avoid my mom and family obviously, I did find away to tune out people’s negative opinions and comments that didn’t align with my goals. So I kept drawing until several well known art schools around the country accepted me.
Like me some of you face more challenging times than others yet you found a way to make it to this point today. You have begun to take your future into your hands. Now I want you to look around the room and notice how many of your peers aren’t sitting along side of you. I was once one of them. I chose to work with children because I knew their were people like myself that needed someone to give them words of encouragement and lift them up when life knocked them down. I can’t do it alone and if you’re willing to help me, lets lift each other up and make sure this room is packed capacity next quarter.
May your future be as bright as the smiles we wear and remember to be proud of yourself because we already are.
Thank you, congrats, God bless and as always... PEACE.