Graduates, it’s your turn to change the world
Graduates of the class of 2007, we honor you and are grateful to have been involved in your education. Your loved ones are bursting with pride at this special milestone, which has prepared you for a lifetime of intellectual exploration, personal growth and social responsibility.
I see in each of you a sense of poise and determination that will help you succeed in the world you are about to enter. Your generation has coped with 9/11, the Blacksburg massacre and at least one Persian Gulf war. You are graduating with your country at war when the conflict with terrorism, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan, has scarred our nation. The senseless evil of terrorists has taught you how to be a people centered in God and to be a people of faith.
Sociologists call you the Millennials, a generation raised between 1978 and 1999 in a sensory-inundated environment of digital technology and mass media. Indeed, as you simultaneously listened to music on your iPod, sent instant messages, did homework and chatted on your cell phones, you have amassed remarkable achievements by believing it is cool to be smart and make good grades. You are the athletes who competed for state championships. You are scientists, humanists, actors, yearbook and newspaper editors and the volunteers who raised thousands of dollars for Aloha United Way.
You are closer to your parents than any other teens in U.S. history. These wonderful parents, often labeled as being overindulgent with you, have also joined forces with the school to encourage you to give back, especially to your country, church, family, friends and to your God.
You will be able to make a difference by changing the world, each in your own way: by helping build highways and bridges; by administering to the sick; by representing a person in a court of law; by defending our country's freedom; by helping feed the hungry; by becoming honorable employees and employers; and by nurturing the foundations for loving families.
Remember that no matter where your interests lead you and no matter how far you travel from Hawaii, there will always be people here who care deeply about you and wish you well.
There are going to be moments in the future when the world might seem a dark and lonely place. In these moments, remember the spirit and hearts that have touched you while in high school. Carry the spirit of the friendships you developed within your heart and in quiet moments wherever you go, re-create the community of faith and love you found during your school years.
Listen not only to your mind, but also to your heart. Listen to the cares and concerns of people around you, to your friends and family. Make the world a better place by becoming nurturing human beings, loving marital partners, caring friends and active global citizens.
Betty White is principal of Sacred Hearts Academy and is a trustee of the National Coalition of Girls Schools.