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Cindy Zahrte

Cindy Zahrte

The last two years I have shared messages from our graduation speakers in my June The School Bell article. This year I am continuing the tradition because our students share wisdom beyond their years when they are given the opportunity to share a message with their peers, parents, family members and friends at graduation. The messages this year on the value of reflecting on one’s accomplishments and the hope provided by our “somedays” are words that can inspire each of us, not just our graduates, to be and do better!

Aaron Springman, the senior class president, urged his classmates to try new things to promote growth and ward off boredom. He also encouraged his peers to learn from their mistakes so they don’t repeat them. Despite parents often sharing that advice, these simple messages coming from “the ranks,” from “one of their own,” certainly carries more weight. Aaron’s message is as appropriate for his peers as it is for this 60-plus-year-old superintendent or my 87-year-old father.

Lauren Buss, the valedictorian of the Class of 2019, challenged her classmates to look at graduation day a bit differently. “Dig up as many memories as you can and take time to reflect on them.” Tell your friends, family, and teachers “thank you for all you’ve done for me” rather than “I’ll miss you.” Lauren also suggested that all the guests at graduation take time to focus on what the graduates have accomplished. Rather than questioning them on their futures, learn from them about their past. Help the graduates reflect on their last four years by asking them what they have accomplished. Find out their thoughts on the band trip to Boston, the tennis or soccer season, the trait they most value in their best friend, the class/teacher which most challenged them, etc. Lauren wanted her classmates to solidify their high school years in their memories. “Make today (graduation) about the journey you’ve taken to get here. Make today about the life-changing moments you’ve experienced, the overwhelming obstacles you’ve overcome, the laughs you’ve shared, and everything in between.”

The salutatorian of the Class of 2019, Cassandra Carlson, talked about the hope and possibilities which exist as her classmates look to their futures. She suggested that the simple phrase, “Someday I want to…” or “Someday I’m going to…” is all that is needed to motivate and empower each of her classmates to achieve their dreams. Cassandra shared that “somedays” don’t just belong to kids. She stated, “They belong to those who look at the possibilities instead of the obstacles. They belong to those who don’t know where they are going or how they’re going to get there, but nevertheless keep moving. … They belong to anyone who has the courage to say to themselves, ‘this goal is huge and scary and I have no idea how I’m going to accomplish it, but someday, I’ll get there.’” Cassandra’s hope for her classmates is that each of them live lives full of somedays.

As you can see, the presentations from our graduation speakers are messages that stand the test of time and are as appropriate for each us to remember, as they are for members of the Class of 2019. As I reflect on the Class of 2019, I’m grateful for the pride they have instilled in our community because of their hard work and success. I am confident they are well-prepared for the challenges ahead and I look forward to hearing about the “someday” accomplishments which are in their futures!

If you have any questions or comments about the information and opinions expressed in this edition of The School Bell, please contact Cindy Zahrte, district administrator, at cindyzahrte@tomah.education or 608-374-7002.

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Cindy Zahrte is the superintendent of the Tomah Area School District.

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Tomah Journal editor

Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

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