“Bombers Take Flight” 2019 Commencement Speech
Hi, I’m Britta. I’ll be your flight attendant for the next few minutes. I want everyone to enjoy the journey on which we’re about to embark, so I would like to offer a few reminders: Some days we’ll soar, flying far beyond our comfort zones; on other days we’ll need to come back down to earth. To keep everybody safe and secure, let’s review who we are, where we’re going, and what to do when we get there.
WHO ARE WE, CLASS OF 2019?
I need to do a quick head count here.
We are 262 individuals, with unique interests, talents, and goals. We are MUCH more than our physical characteristics or accomplishments. We can proudly call ourselves The Kenston Bombers. And, lucky us: WE, the class of 2019, also know what it means to be called “champions.” Now it’s time to buckle up, Bombers, and get ready for take-off!
WHERE ARE WE GOING ?
Now that we’re on our way, let’s be real: most of us have only a rough idea of what direction we are headed. For starters, we can be sure we are going UP. We’ll keep an eye on the altimeter, so we can aim high and still make it safely back to earth. No worries: I brought the oxygen masks!
As we breach the clouds, we could potentially lose perspective, as the thoughts in our heads or the dreams in our hearts lead us to places that are unfamiliar. We’re going to receive a LOT of conflicting advice from people we haven’t even met yet, but don’t be alarmed. No matter how much knowledge is a tap away on our phones, what we will need most in the future is to use good judgment.
When all else fails, we ALWAYS have our trusty life vests with us. There are experienced people in this room who know how to solve the exact same real-world conundrums we are about to face. Keep them close! They just might keep you afloat.
Take time to thank your parents (and mentors) who coached us in basketball, drove us to Scout meetings, or convinced us to stay in band, back when we DIDN’T know the way. Say “thank you” to those “old school” folks – DAD – who remind us that there are good and bad choices. And when faced with a major dilemma, stop and consider the ultimate voice of reason, “What would Grandma think?” Now that’s a life vest!
This might be a good time to mention “turbulence.” It WILL happen. But whether life deals you smooth or rough airspace, prepare yourself now by thinking through some alternative courses of action. Remain calm when we hit those bumps, and plan ahead, knowing where possible landing strips are along the way. If you do choose a shortcut, know how to use a map to get back on track.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE REACH OUR DESTINATION?
You’ve heard LeBron James recommend that we should “Strive for greatness.” Long before LBJ came along, my grandparents also told my brothers and me that “we should never, ever, be average, because the world is full of average people”. If we always do our best, we just might become exceptional. Just keep in mind another notable LeBron quote: “Everything is earned, not given.” On your journey, be that person willing to go the extra mile to reach the most desirable destinations.
I mentioned earlier how “lucky” we – the Class of 2019 – are to be recognized as champions. But is it really luck? Memorize this, fellow Bombers: “Luck happens when Preparation meets Opportunity.” Our championship football team was exceptionally well prepared this season. A whole lot of practices, hard work, and exceptional coaching got them to the point of ultimate achievement. And make no mistake, we were all in this together: our class has literally made history.
We’ll be back on the ground in just a minute. Contents in the overhead bins may have shifted during the flight, so try to handle your baggage without dropping it onto anyone else’s head. But don’t hesitate to ask for assistance if needed.
PREPARE FOR LANDING!
Class of 2019, welcome to Cleveland and the world beyond. Please, look to your left and right. You’re looking at other high fliers destined for greatness…just like you.
Lucky us: Opportunity is ahead, and the support team that prepared us is right beside us. Your mission, fellow Bombers, is to be proud of who you are, enthusiastic about where you’re going, and ready to encourage others to enjoy their journey. Soon, it will be time for another take-off!
Please remain seated until everyone has received their diplomas. Have a great evening, everyone. Bombers fly together! Bye-bye, now!