Sunday, June 21st, 2020
Well, class of 2020, you made it! Congratulations. It has been a privilege of mine to get to know you this year and I have been so impressed with your determination, resilience, compassion and leadership. You have a strong sense of identity and in planning your grad, you always emphasized that you wanted to celebrate in a way that really represented your class and community. You challenged tradition and were ok with doing something new. And here we are - doing something new. You are well poised for being culture changers in this new landscape.
Let me explain. You may not have noticed it, but when the pandemic was declared, all of history shifted. It may have seemed uneventful and certainly quiet, while we were all at home, doing work online, and spending endless hours with our families (and just maybe playing some video games!). However, in that quiet space, a powerful force of change exploded. The industries of medicine, politics, business, education, technology and economy have all been impacted significantly forever. New ways of doing and being have immediately been adopted. Culture has shifted and the rules are changing every day. We are living through a massive historical event. We have been launched into a renaissance of great social change, and culture will never be the same.
Those of us in this room, your parents, grandparents, teachers, elders, have never been through this before. There are no rule books, guidelines or precedents for us to rely on. We cannot lead you through this as we do not know the way. We need you to now be the leaders. This is your world to form and change. You have been uniquely prepared for this very moment. It is our turn to now follow and learn.
Your value for the individual and championing for diversity is needed. Continue to use your voice to stand up for human rights. Your inquisitiveness and creative thinking is essential. Continue to create, innovate, and solve problems. Your deep connection to one another is inspiring. Continue to build communities, create families, and take care of one another. As you leave here today, take risks, be willing to change, and let your voices be heard.
Class of 2020, it is your turn to lead. As we release you, we turn our faces towards the winds of change and follow you. You have been given the tremendous opportunity at this time to be significant agents of change. All your learning to this point has prepared you for such a time as this. Navigate the way for us.
Thank you for letting me be part of your journey. You are a wonderful group of young people and I know that each and every one of you will find your unique place. I look forward to hearing all about where you go and what you do.
Congratulations, and all the best.