Mahtomedi High School / Catherine Dalton, Independent School District 832 Board of Education Treasurer / June 6, 2009
Good evening everyone. I would like to extend a warm welcome to Parents, Families and friends of the graduates, the Board of Education, Administration, Teachers and Support staff of the Mahtomedi Area Public Schools, and finally to the graduates themselves.
Congratulations! Just think, it was only 13 short years ago that you walked into that Kindergarten classroom. And now here you are today, ... Graduates of the class of 2009.
From this point onward, I believe, your life will change in one very important way. Up to this point you have had a lot of people making decisions for you. Now, it's up to you.
I understand that you have already made many decisions about your life. I also understand that there are still a lot of hoops that you have to jump through to reach your goals, and that those hoops do not necessarily represent options to you. However, compared with your life up to this point, you will be making more decisions.
How you will determine what those decisions are, and how you will make them will matter.
Poet Mary Oliver writes,
"Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
"What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
That is quite a question. One I would suggest is worth remembering every minute of every day.
How is this moment best spent and this moment and so on as the moments lead to days, and then to years, and together they make up your life.
But how to choose. T.S. Eliot provides one possible answer to this question: "Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out just how far one can go."
"Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out just how far one can go."
Now, I would like to go on record here that I am not advocating what I might call life threatening risks or not-very-smart risks. I am talking about risks that encourage you to step outside your comfort zone and help you grow an an individual or as a contributor to society.
For example: Even though you may be headed into the field of engineering, don't forget that you always wanted to write that book.
Or, even though you going to school to be a graphic artist, don't forget your fascination with mysteries of quantum physics.
Yes, you plan to be an auto mechanic, a pilot, a doctor. But what about your dream to to be in that play.
Even within the boundaries of your job, keep in mind that every moment is an opportunity to open doors that appear to be sealed shut. Take a chance that what is on the other side is where you need to go.
It is very likely that you will change your job several times and that your life will take unexpected turns:
Every moment counts,
Keep the doors open,
Go too far.
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
Thank you and congratulations.