Congratulations to the Class of 2011
These young men and women represent our next group of productive citizens.
I like the month of May. Two things happen during the month which bring a smile to my face. Number one is spring football practice. If I can make it through the long hot summer, it won't be long until I am sitting under the "Friday Night Lights" again. There is no better place to be on a Friday night than at a high school football game.
I usually catch a home game at Dacula, Mill Creek, or Mountain View. I tell young men that when they walk across the street so to speak from an eighth grade program and commit to four years of high school football, it doesn't matter if you never play one minute under the Friday night lights. What does matter is that you commit to the program with every ounce of fiber that is in your body and when you "walk" on Senior Night, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that for four years you were a part of something that was bigger than yourself.
I also tell them that long after the stadium lights are turned off and the scoreboard goes dim, those four years will be some of the most memorable moments of their life. It will have its rewards. Especially when they are 75 years old and one of the "old men" sitting around the coffee shops on Monday mornings. They will, like me, be able to second guess Coach Hardy, or Coach Jarvis, or Coach Zito. Heck, Coaches Hardy, Jarvis, and Zito might be among those sitting in the coffee shop second guessing with them.
The other thing I like are those graduation banners or signs at entrances to subdivisions or in front of individual homes proudly announcing those high school seniors who are graduating. As I drive by, I wonder about the graduate or graduates represented. I know that each banner or sign is the culmination of four years of hard work which will have paved a solid path for their future. I wonder what's next for them.
Whether it be college, technical school, military, or employment, these young men and women represent our next group of productive citizens. I trust they will accept this mantle of responsibility well and be successful throughout their lifetime. I trust they will have learned that providing a service to others is the best attribute that one has to offer.
As I drive by the graduation banners and signs in Gwinnett, my heart aches for those young men and women whose graduation from high school was so abruptly interrupted during the tornadoes of April 27 and April 28. Especially those high school students in Ringgold. I can only imagine what those graduating seniors in towns where their high schools were severely damaged or destroyed are going through. In what should be some of the best days of their young lives, they find themselves in a situation well beyond their years.
Although their graduation exercises may not be what they had anticipated, one day these young men and women of the Class of 2011 will look back and see that this event was a defining moment in their life and one which further molded their character and inspired them to greater success. As they move forward in life they will look back and know that to succeed in all circumstances you have to be mentally tough, physically tough and spiritually tough. Of the three, they will have learned that spiritual toughness is their greatest asset as it will under gird the other two.
The way I see it, the Class of 2011, especially those undergoing some trying times, is to be congratulated.