Vail Valley Voices: Parting words for the class of 2009 |

Vail Valley Voices: Parting words for the class of 2009

Sandra B. Smyser,
Vail, CO, Colorado

Dear Graduates,

Congratulations! Graduating from high school is one of the first significant milestones in life, and you should be so proud of all that you have accomplished over the past 18 years to get where you are today.

Graduation marks the culmination of an era and a start to new beginnings. This is a reflective time in your life when you look back at everything you have accomplished and the strides you have made as a young man or woman. This is also a bittersweet time in your life when you look to the future with both excitement and apprehension, realizing that it is nearly impossible to predict exactly what is yet to come.

It is my hope that you look back on your education in Eagle County Schools favorably and look to the future optimistically.

As educators, it is our job to provide you with an exceptional education and equip you with all of the necessary knowledge we can in order to best prepare you for post-secondary avenues. I am confident that every one of you will set out to accomplish amazing things.

A few pieces of advice for your journey:

Find your passion. Whether your interests lie in science, art, music, journalism, marine biology, archeology or any number of areas, know that you will truly shine when you pursue whatever you are passionate about. In order to discover what that may be, hone in on your interests and further explore your strengths.

Maintain your character. You are the only “you” that you can be, so celebrate your uniqueness and embrace all that you have to offer to the world. Stay true to who you are and you will never find yourself lost.

Continue to learn. Whether you choose to continue your education in an undergraduate program, pursue training in a special field, or choose to enter the workforce, maintain the desire to ask questions, challenge answers and provide solutions. Be the best you can be in whatever position you pursue.

Practice good ethics. Upholding strong principles, morals and beliefs will always steer you down the right path.

Be global citizens. Represent us well in the future by working to be respectable, contributing members of society. There is a big world out there; get out there and explore.

Keep in touch. Let us know what you are up to, where you’ve been and where you’re going. I am confident that you will find joy and personal fulfillment in whatever path you choose. Always remember that ups and downs will inevitably take their course, but I encourage you to find the success that lies within each of you.

I leave you with a few parting words from Dr. Seuss’ “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”:


Today is your day.

You’re off to Great Places!

You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.

You have feet in your shoes.

You can steer yourself

Any direction you choose.

You’re on your own. And you know what you know.

And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

And will you succeed?

Yes! You will, indeed!

(98 and three-quarters percent guaranteed)


So …

be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray

or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,

you’re off to Great Places!

Today is your day!

Your mountain is waiting.

So … get on your way!

Sandra B. Smyser, Ph.D., is the superintendent of Eagle County Schools.


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