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Congratulations, Graduates! We’re counting on you!

It’s graduation time, but graduates, I am sorry to tell you the tests don’t end, they just change. Sorry to tell you the grades don’t stop coming, they just come in a different way. Sorry to tell you the homework assignments don’t end, they just become projects for work or college.

It might be a cliché, and one you’ll hear plenty of from upcoming Valedictorian, Salutatorian and guest speaker addresses, but you are the future of Donalsonville, the future of Seminole County and beyond.

For years, we (your parents, relatives and friends) have pressured you to complete your assignments, study for your tests and get to class on time. This isn’t because we like being a pest; it’s more selfish than that. We’re counting on you.

For years, we’ve told you to tuck in your shirt, stand up straight and use your manners. This isn’t because we like telling you what to do; it’s more selfish than that. We’re counting on you.

For years, we’ve challenged you to take tougher classes, participate in extra-curricular activities and be careful with those you call your friends. This isn’t because we are trying to control your life; it’s more selfish than that. We’re counting on you.

Whether you’ve attended a public school or a private school, the investment made in your future has been well into the thousands of dollars — the tens of thousands of dollars. In short, you are an investment we are counting on to show a return.

Whether you plan to attend college, a technical college or no college, is irrelevant to the expectations we have of you.

What we expect is that you return the favor, that you make an investment back into Donalsonville, into Seminole County, into the community that has done so much for you and your future.

What we expect is for you to be the type of men and women we know you can be and be a good example to those who follow you.

You have been given a gift of education; don’t squander it. Instead, turn it into something great, turn it into something you — and those who have given you this gift — will be tremendously proud of one day.

Graduation is simply the period of one sentence; it is not the end of the story. What you do with this story is completely up to you, but you have the tools, the skills and the ability to make it whatever you want and to make it a classic.

While we offer our congratulations to the graduating classes of 2019, just know we still have plenty of expectations of you. Know too, that we are counting on you.

We could not be more proud of each and every one of you. You embody to the fullest the drive to discover, to create and to inspire. This is your moment, and no one deserves it more. So pause to bask in your achievements. Celebrate with your friends and loved ones. You have earned it. It has been a privilege to put your faces and tell your stories on the pages of your community newspaper throughout this past year.

Go forth and keep discovering, keep creating, keep inspiring. You have the tools, you have the will, you have the vision. And you have our gratitude, because through you, the world is about to get better.

Getting to know the faces of the 2019 Seminole County Indians, and SGA Warriors, and the personalities of the fine young people behind them, has been a pleasure. As you begin, in earnest, the journey to your dreams, remember that after God, the most important person you need to impress is yourself, so go forward and conquer your world. As far as I am concerned, you have been doing that all year long. Don’t stop now.

Learn, live and leave your mark on the world. As you embark on the next journey in the quest of your dreams we look forward to bigger and brighter reasons for you to make us proud. And remember, we are counting on you and we  will be watching and rooting for you all the way.

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