Graduates, the future is yours

Congratulations, class of 2015. If you work hard and follow your dreams, anything is within your grasp. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

Congratulations, class of 2015. If you work hard and follow your dreams, anything is within your grasp. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

I was fortunate enough to have a chance to cover a few of Shelby County’s graduations last week, and I couldn’t help but think about experiencing the thrill of walking across the stage myself in 2003.
As my alma mater, the Pelham High School graduation ceremony always brings back fond memories of donning the green robe and receiving the coveted proof that high school was officially over.
Getting to cover local high school graduations through my job now is a unique experience, because I can’t help but place my 18-year-old self in the graduates’ shoes.
What may have seemed like a boring speech 12 years ago now comes across as sound advice I think every graduate would be wise to heed.
Pelham Mayor Gary Waters offered a short, but profound, message to the PHS class of 2015. Waters shared the life story of President Theodore Roosevelt, explaining how Roosevelt became the first president to ride in an automobile and fly in a plane while writing 38 books, helping to build the Panama Canal and more.
“His first notable achievement didn’t come until he was 22 years old,” Waters said. “He accomplished all this in 38 years. What are you going to do?”
Helena High School – the newest in Shelby County – also offered some powerful and practical advice to its first-ever graduating class.
“Do the right thing, even when it’s not convenient, treat people a little bit better than you believe they deserve to be treated and be humble,” HHS Principal Jay Peoples told the about 190-member class.
That’s advice anyone could benefit from – Adults included.
Oak Mountain High School valedictorian Matthew Tindal also shared sound advice.
“Stand out,” Tindal said to his class of nearly 400 during the school’s graduation ceremony on May 20. “Think for yourselves, and be who you want to be.”
Seniors, no matter which school you graduated from, please take the time to follow your dreams. An education from any school in Shelby County is second to none, and anything you want to do in your life is now within your grasp.