By Sheila Swier
Symbolically, the grand march we just witnessed, serves as a reminder of the walk of life we are involved in each and every day of our lives:
Where, the “Days come easy and the moments pass slow”
Where, “each road leads you where you want to go”
These lines truly define the root of living and our willingness to move forward in life.
Tonight, we pay tribute and honor the graduating class of 2008. Twenty-five grads is an all time record for West Country Outreach School and each and every one of these students makes me proud. Together, we have shared in our fair share of laughter, frustration, hissey-fits, dramatic moments, tears, but most importantly, much love and respect. Each one of you has touched my life in a memorable way. You are all fine young ladies and gentlemen who have accomplished something noteworthy traveling the road “From Start to Finish”. Many of you took the back-roads and did quite a bit of free wheeling, getting stuck in the ruts and crashing more than once. Yet, you all kept with it. When one roadblock loomed ahead, you managed to re-route your course, never losing sight of your final destination. And here you are. You have arrived.
Now, if you were to ask your parents about this journey you have been engaged in, they will tell you it seems like only yesterday you were tearing about in your diapers, playing dress-up and learning how to ride your first two wheeler. Yet, here you sit before us, in your entire splendor, dressed to the nines, ready to take on the world. And take on the world you will. Your life journey is truly just beginning. Tonight is the hallmark of all the life experiences yet to come, a benchmark for the bigger and better events you will realize as you journey through adulthood. The lessons you have learned as a teenager, and here within the walls of West Country Outreach School, will empower you as an adult. And hopefully, you have learned some powerful and valuable lessons from your parents, your friends and from us as your teachers.
Tonight, is your final formal lesson imparted by yours truly because you are not finished with living. In fact, you are just beginning. Therefore, I gift to you, Swier’s Rules to Live By:
• Remember, your world will only be as good as the world you create. It is your responsibility to make the world a better place.
• Remember, to touch the lives of other people in meaningful ways in order to create a richer world.
• Remember to give 110 percent, 110 percent of the time.
• Remember, success is relative.
• Remember, life is about making the most of your abilities, your personalities, and your god-given talents. There are no lasting short cuts. You only get from life what you put forth.
• Remember to only judge your success against your own potential and not that of others.
• Remember, you cannot change your fate, but you CAN change your attitude and guys, attitude, really is everything.
• Remember that you able because you think you are able.
• Remember to be yourself, because each of you possesses greatness.
• Remember those who love you and champion you onward in your journey. One day, you will be able to repay the favor.
• Remember to be what and who you are. Become what you are capable of becoming because that is the ONLY end in life.
• Remember that my staff, your parents and myself wish you nothing but happiness as you embark on this next leg of your life journey.
And like the Rascall Flats lyrics,
My wish for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
Your dreams stay big and your worries stay small.
You never need to carry more than you can hold
And while you’re out there getting where you’re getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too.
Yes. This is my wish.
From Start to Finish….This is my wish.