We started together.
Four short years ago you were freshmen in high school.
I was the brand new Superintendent of the Novi Community School District.
For four years you and I have been learning lessons. We have grown. We have struggled. We have lost our way at times.
I have sat in my office with a few of you.
That's usually not a good thing. For students I am the office of last resort. When you get sent to my office it means that you have exhausted all of your chances. I was you last hope.
But I believed that you needed to be in school. So I gave some of you a chance.
And now here you are - about to graduate from high school.
I hope you learned from that experience that you shouldn't give up on people - and that means you shouldn't give up on yourself either.
All of us hit rough patches. Giving up shouldn't be an option. Finding the will to change directions is hard. But it is also worth it.
I watched many of you do marvelous things over the last four years.
You marched in the band.
You played the baritone or the cello or the piccolo or the viola.
You threw a football.
You sank a basket.
You ran like the wind.
Some of you made robots.
Others competed against the very best entrepreneurs and marketers in competitions like DECA and came out winners.
You were National Merit Finalists and had perfect ACT scores.
You took AP and IB exams and have earned hours of college credit already!
Truthfully you are marvelous. So skilled and confident and capable. It has been a pleasure watching you grow.
Some of you I watched as you walked with heads down through the hallways. You looked sad or discouraged or upset.
I would say hello and get a shrug back.
You appeared to me to be like I was in high school. I was unsure of myself. I was not an athlete. I was not in the band. I went to school and came home. I had no voice, no presence, no sense of who I was or who I wanted to be.
What you should know is that high school is not the best part of your life. High school is a beginning. It prepares you but doesn't define you.
I went away to college and found my voice. My guess is that you can as well.
Most of you I will see one more time. At commencement as you walk across the stage I will shake your hand and wish you good luck.
I believe that you are ready. I have confidence that all of you will find your voice and grow into who you want to be.
Thank you for four great years.