This week, members of the Class of 2019 are graduating at our local high schools. For most of these grads, it is the highlight of their still young lives. It is a time when these young people come of age as they cross the threshold into adulthood. It is a step they have been eagerly awaiting, one that will send them down diverging paths. Some will continue their education, attending universities or community colleges. Others will join the workforce, perhaps settling down quickly and starting families. Still more will join the armed forces and serve our nation.

It is also a time of celebration, a time when the achievements of these graduates are marked. They deservedly stand in the spotlight, in an environment that often has the feel of a family reunion, with relatives coming from near and far to see them receive their diplomas. And at the same time, it is a bittersweet occasion, with grads knowing that, in many cases, they will seldom – if ever again – see classmates they have known since kindergarten.

So many memories for a lifetime will be made in such a short period of time, with tears of joy and tears of sadness. And then off into the great wide world the graduates will go. To the Class of 2019, we offer the following as they move on:

Remember with adulthood comes new responsibilities. The decisions you make may affect the rest of your lives; choose wisely. And don’t be afraid to still ask your parents and other adults for advice. Over the years, they have picked up a little wisdom themselves.

Success comes with high aspirations. Never say you can’t do something until you’ve tried. If you fail, look at why. And then reach for the stars again.

Savor every day. Don’t put off on doing something, thinking that you’re only eighteen, and have the rest of your life to do it. Before you know it, eighteen turns into thirty, and thirty to forty-five, and forty-five to sixty, and the opportunity has been lost.

While you should always enjoy life, don’t do so recklessly.

And lastly, remember always your classmates and teachers. They have helped make you the person you are, and the person you always will be. Cherish the memories of them, and do your best to stay in touch with as many of them as possible.

Congratulations to the Class of 2019. Best of luck to each of every one of you. And may your dreams always come true.

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