To the Class of 2018:
As I stood before the Boone County High School Class of 2018, it seemed surreal. I had been given the honor of giving the commencement address this year. Here I was, trying to impart the wisdom from my experiences over the last 45 years. At my commencement and for years to follow, the world was a much different place.
Forty-five years ago, I became the fourth of what would become six members of my family to graduate from Boone County High School. I had no idea what I wanted to do. Should I go to college? What should I major in? I attended Northern Kentucky State College that fall, taking basic business classes that included machines that no one uses anymore. Accounting became my favorite class, even though Excel spreadsheets hadn’t been invented yet.
My work experience was varied over the years. It included a grocery store cashier, an insurance office, a bookkeeper and included places like City Hall, the Home Builders Association, the Kenton County Airport Board, as well as mom and PTA president.
The common theme of every job I held was working with and for people and providing excellent customer service. This fed right into my love for my community – and it helped fuel a drive for wanting things to improve and see my hometown thrive to become a great place to live, work and play.
I share this with you, so you can better understand that not knowing what you want to do and exploring opportunities offered to you can lead you to your ultimate life’s goal. As you step outside the walls of your high school, you will have moments of self-doubt. Whether you are starting college, a trade school, or a job, it’s now up to you to make your experience what you want it to be.
Over time, you will create yourself and your career. You will have mentors and influencers along the way who will help you. Always remember to show appreciation for those who saw your potential and assisted you.
You have before you an opportunity – a future – a chance to be whatever you can dream of being. I encourage you to dream big.
I encourage you to embrace what matters to you and to be an advocate and a voice for the things that matter. Register to vote – and then vote. It’s not only your right – it’s your duty!
Try putting your phones down every once in a while and talk to people. Look at their faces. Watch what is happening around you and watch where you are going. Live in the moment, and not just in the pictures or selfies you might take of the moment. There is so much more to the world than Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and YouTube. Real Life can be pretty amazing, so make sure you enjoy it too!
The world is yours, so I say to you, Class of 2018, go out and make life and the world spectacular.