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Our View: A message for the Class of 2013

Published: Friday, May 17, 2013 5:30 a.m. CST

Over the next few weeks, thousands of local high school seniors will receive that coveted document that essentially says their childhood is over.

Seniors, as you walk across that stage, take possession of your diplomas during commencement and move the tassel from the right side to the left of your graduation caps, we hope you see it as a passport of sorts.

That piece of paper is your ticket to the next chapter of your life. Whether it will be heading to the local community college, a four-year university, an Ivy League school, the military or into the workforce, it’s your de facto admission to adulthood.

Over the years, we’ve probably written about hundreds of members of this year’s graduating class, sharing their academic and athletic endeavors and accomplishments, or detailing the heartwarming acts they do on behalf of the community.

These students – and the thousands more we wish we had the time and space to write about – represent the very best of our communities. We’re proud of their accomplishments, and hope you, as their neighbors, are too.

Graduates, no matter where the next chapter leads you, we hope you approach it with a sense of purpose and adventure.

Continue learning – and not just from books or lectures. Soak in as many experiences as you can. Put your smartphone down and have actual conversations. Explore places that long to be discovered.

Fall in love. Get your heart broken. Do something that scares you. Find a passion and inhibit it wholeheartedly. Make a point of listening to those who have a different viewpoint than you – and learn to respect them for it, even if you don’t agree with it.

You’re going to enter the workforce during uncertain economic times. The road will be bumpy, so be prepared to strap yourself down when the turbulence hits. Nonetheless, pursue a career you’re going to love. Realize you’re likely not getting your ideal job right out of college, but dream about that perfect job – and go for it.

And then, come back home and share what you’ve learned. Our communities need residents passionate about what they do and committed to improving the world around them. We need you.

Class of 2013, we congratulate you. Best wishes as you embark on the next part of the journey.

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