Opinion

Congratulations, Class of 2013 | In Our Opinion

Approximately 502 high school seniors from two public schools and one private school are graduating in commencement ceremonies that began June 6.

West Sound Academy’s commencement ceremony was June 6, 7 p.m., at Kiana Lodge. North Kitsap High School’s commencement is June 14, 7 p.m., at North Kitsap Stadium. Kingston High School’s commencement is June 15, 2 p.m., at North Kitsap Stadium. Olympic College’s commencement is June 16, 2 p.m., at the Kitsap Fairgrounds pavilion, 1200 Fairgrounds Road, Bremerton.

The commencement ceremonies are open to the public. The graduates are the subject of a special section in this edition of the North Kitsap Herald.

To the Class of 2013, we offer this message: Congratulations on reaching this milestone in your life. As you stand on the threshold of adulthood, prepared to take on the world, here are some things we want you to know.

The world you inherit is different than the one that existed that first day of school. Since kindergarten, the U.S. has fought two wars and weathered the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. We have been changed by these experiences. But you have what it takes to thrive and be catalysts for positive change in this brave new world.

You have the confidence that comes from pushing yourself. You raised market animals for 4-H, earned money to go on school trips, performed on the community theater stage, competed in sports, took Advanced Placement exams. You wrote music and produced videos. You participated in community projects here and abroad.

You know about teamwork and fair play, both in the classroom and on the sports field. When competition was tough, you did your best and were a good sport. You offered a hand to an injured opponent. You gave credit to your teammates, knowing the victory was a shared accomplishment. You enjoyed the competition even if a title was out of reach, knowing that the friendships, good health and self-discipline that come from sport have more value than a trophy.

You have resilience, something that you learned from living in this unique place. All of your life here, you’ve seen how your community won’t say “no” when the chips are down. When someone in the community needed help, you joined your neighbors in coming to aid. When tragedy struck other parts of the country or the world, you joined your neighbors in responding with compassion and giving. When a local cause needed support, you joined your neighbors in meeting the need.

And now, here you are, ready to don cap and gown and get that well-deserved diploma. Sure, the world poses different challenges for you than it did for us on our graduation day. But you are ready. And your community has confidence in you.

Even though eyes may tear as you prepare to leave, we eagerly anticipate news of the heights you will scale, the goals you will achieve, the changes you will bring to the communities you will touch.

Good luck, graduates.

 

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