Let this finish line be the starting point of your life


By Collin Brooks

Indulge with me, if you will, as I try to deliver a message fueled by caring. I don’t have the mettle to make speeches, but if I did, it may go something like this. Imagine me in front of a graduating body, man-bun hurriedly thrown up and my eyes visible under my NET Pigskin hat. As I peer over the crowd, I smile.

Seeing all of the young faces that have completed a goal, which I’m sure at one point or another seemed unattainable or maybe unattractive, brings that grin to my face.

You graduated high school. You did it.

That within itself is worth the celebration you and your family will enjoy over this summer.

Enjoy it. Be responsible, be loving and think back on all the people, family, teachers and friends that helped you accomplish your feat. Don’t be selfish in your celebration, share it with everyone that you can. Because think of the people that would give anything to share it with their loved ones. Some don’t have the opportunity to do so. So include them in your celebrations.

I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know many of the graduation class members of 2017 from numerous schools.

In my past life, I was a sports writer, sharing the on-field stories and accomplishments of many student athletes. During my present days, I have hopped over to the news side. But it has introduced me to kids that aren’t acclaimed for their athletic prowess, but for their aptitude to perform inside the classroom. Both of my late parents were educators, a high test score was more important to my mom than how many rebounds or points I could ever score on the hardwood. That is why I think graduation time always holds a special place in my heart.

But let me caution you. Although this may be the finish line for your high school career, it is merely the starting block for the rest of your life.

Don’t be satisfied with this accomplishment. Let it show you that no matter what you put your mind to you can accomplish it. It is cliche, I understand, but your attendance in your graduation ceremony proves that the statement is true.

I don’t have the space to commend each of the students I know personally for attaining their high school degree, but know that I think highly of each of you. Whether our relationship was kindled by athletic accomplishments, or we ran into one another as I ventured around the numerous high schools, congratulations.

Also let me warn you, in life you are prone to fail. Some will fall harder than others, but don’t be surprised when you aren’t able to succeed at something that you try. The failures in life help build the foundation for our tomorrows. Take it on the chin, move on and find a way to accomplish what you want to do in life.

Also, take life one day at a time. If you get too caught up in the past, you’ll miss the present. If you’re engulfed with the future, you won’t have the time to cherish everything around you. Keep your eye on the prize, but also enjoy the ride.

For my last few words, I will defer to poet Clifford Joseph Harris Jr., for merely his words, not his actions. You can learn a lot from people that have suffered, if you take the time to do so.

“Impossible is nothing your environments irrelevant,

just don’t let your emotions overpower your intelligence.

Refuse to give up, your mistakes don’t define you.

They don’t dictate where you’re headed, they remind you.

That time keeps ticking let your mind keep clicking

Never stop thinking be aware of your positions

Be aware of the collisions and the potholes sitting on the road that you travel on your life long mission.

Just listen every day is like a snapshot taken if you live you can learn to be patient.”

Finally, congratulations to you all. Cherish your achievement and prepare for tomorrow. You did it!


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