Good evening everyone, and welcome again to the 58th graduation ceremonies here at Holy Cross. Today we welcome the superintendent of Catholic schools Mrs. Joanne Tier, the pastors of Burlington County, our principal Mr. Dennis Guida, our associate principal Mr. Vincent Fynan, members of the Class of 1968, faculty, friends and family, and of course, the distinguished graduates of 2018. I would like to thank everyone for the role they have played in allowing the Class of 2018 the opportunity to sit here today as graduates.
When I started to write this speech, I asked my mother if she had any advice she thought I should include. She told me her best piece of advice would be to ‘Not take yourself so seriously.’
At first I thought this advice was terrible, which is exactly what I told her. Did she not know that 17 and 18-year-olds are known for our belief that we are the center of the universe, and that the world revolves around us?
Which, of course, is why it is great advice.
As teenagers, we are really great at two things; thinking about ourselves, and thinking about ourselves in the future.
Thinking about yourself is unavoidable. This is your life, your world, and everyone else is just living in it. Or so you believe.
The reality is that we all play a part in each other’s lives. Even at this young age, we have made an impact in other people’s lives, though we might not have known it at the time.
Now, looking back, I see how every single one of you has changed me. Whether it was a single comment that changed my day, an exchange that changed how I view the world, or even a friendship that I know will last for decades to come. You have all made your mark on me, and we have all made our mark on each other.
That is why it is crucial that you understand that your actions never solely affect you, because you are not the only person that matters. This is a scary idea, but one that you should keep with you as you move into the future.
Speaking of the future, I think it is fair to say that as graduates, we have spent a lot of time thinking about what comes next. In fact, sometimes it feels like my every thought, word, and action should be about the future. Undoubtedly, the future is important. But we should not forget about the now, the present. What you do now is as important as what you plan for the future.
Take this graduation ceremony as an example. I am sure that there are at least a few of you, who are already thinking, ¨When is this girl going to stop talking?¨ You are already planning your next move, waiting to leave this ceremony and get to the Jersey Shore, and then off to whatever awaits you.
But maybe you should stop taking yourself so seriously, and think about the amazing moment right in front of you, one that you are sharing with everyone else around you. Enjoy this, as this is the culmination of the hard work you have done for the last 12 years. Do not be so eager to rush off from what should be a memory you hold on to for the rest of your life.
We still have a long road ahead of us, and the future will be there tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that. Instead of taking yourself so seriously, take the time to enjoy the moments in front of you, and take the time to value the many roles you play in other people lives. Cherish what you have in front of you now, and when the future comes, you will be ready.