Roots and wings: Two gifts that a principal hopes to impart to another graduating class

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, honoured guests, parents, staff, district personnel, trustees, friends, family and graduates.

Our deepest fear

Is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear

Is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness,

That most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant,

Gorgeous, talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of the universe.

Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking

So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory

Of that which is within us.

It’s not just in some of us;

It’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,

We unconsciously give other people

Permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear

Our presence automatically liberates others.

 

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, honoured guests, parents, staff, district personnel, trustees, friends, family and graduates.

This quote from Nelson Mandela speaks of conquering fear, of using our talents, of being a beacon of light in the world and by doing so, giving others the permission and validation to do the same.

When I was in high school, I wanted to drop out at the end of Grade 10. I was bored, rebellious and had fractured an occasional school rule or two. I moved out of the house at 17.

A teacher saw the light in me, encouraged me, and treated me with respect when my actions didn’t warrant any. He served the students, the school, and the community. He served me and shone in doing so. In shining as a teacher, he gave me permission to shine myself. He nurtured my talents and kept me interested in school. Because of his passion in teaching and because of how he treated me; I was inspired to become an educator, inspired to shine, inspired to find and nurture the light and gifts in other students.

Graduates, at Stanley Humphries Secondary School, we have striven to nurture your minds, bodies and spirits. We have worked to prepare you for a world in which the only constant will be change. We have worked with you to conquer the fear of change and to embrace it as an opportunity for growth and learning. We have worked in service to you, giving you opportunities to find, nurture and use your talents.

One of the benefits of a school in a small community is the relationships you form. Here, you have not just been another student in the crowd; you have been a part of a family. We have watched you grow, supported your success and given you as many opportunities as possible to shine in academic excellence, service, and responsibility; to be a beacon of light in Stanley Humphries Secondary and in the world.

Hodding Carter Jr. said “There are two lasting bequests we can give our children. One is roots. The other is wings.” I hope that Castlegar and the school have given you roots. I hope that when you leave here tonight, and for the rest of your lives you can be proud to say that you were from Castlegar. You will always be a part of our community and of our school. I also hope that we have helped you to find your wings; the courage to explore, dream and discover. Never be afraid to try something new. As an unknown author once said, “Remember, amateurs built the ark; professionals built the Titanic!”

Graduates, take a look around you on this special day, the fulfillment of 13 years of school. I hope that you see someone that has made a difference in your life at the school. I hope you see someone who has inspired you and given you the courage to shine for the world. Ralph Waldo Emerson said “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” There is a light within all of you. What will you do with it?

A famous director and movie producer, Jerry Zucker, said “Think of the world as a big glass of water with some salt in it. You have a choice. You can try to pick out all the salt or you can keep pouring in more water so eventually it gets less bitter. As you begin your new journey, you can try to remove everything that you find distasteful in the world, or you can just pour in more love. It’s the only thing that the more you give away, the more you have.”

Graduates, as you leave Stanley Humphries Secondary, my sincerest wish for you is that “your dreams take you to the corners of your smiles, to the highest point of your hopes, to the windows of your opportunities, and to the most special places your heart has ever known.” (Author unknown) We are very proud of your accomplishments, congratulations.

 

— Stanley Humphries Secondary School Principal Nathan Robinson

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