Commencement Speeches Offer Last Lesson to Seniors Before Graduating 

By: Jessica Mitchell

With local high school graduations completed in the tri-state, it’s a time of new beginnings and reflections for graduating seniors. Commencement addresses are one of the greatest graduation traditions and are often the last lesson the students receive before they embark on the next chapter of their lives.

Here are a few favorites from the years:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” – Steve Jobs, Stanford University, 2005

“Take action. Every story you’ve ever connected with, every leader you’ve ever admired, every puny little thing that you’ve ever accomplished is the result of taking action. You have a choice. You can either be a passive victim of circumstance or you can be the active hero of your own life. Action is the antidote to apathy and cynicism and despair. You will inevitably make mistakes. Learn what you can and move on. At the end of your days, you will be judged by your gallop, not by your stumble.” – Bradley Whitford, Wisconsin, 2006

“Err in the direction of kindness. Do those things that incline you toward the big questions, and avoid the things that would reduce you and make you trivial. That luminous part of you that exists beyond personality — your soul, if you will — is as bright and shining as any that has ever been. Bright as Shakespeare’s, bright as Gandhi’s, bright as Mother Teresa’s. Clear away everything that keeps you separate from this secret luminous place. Believe it exists, come to know it better, nurture it, share its fruits tirelessly.” – George Saunders, Syracuse University, 2013

“No matter how cliché it may sound you will never truly be successful until you learn to give beyond yourself. Empathy and kindness are the true signs of emotional intelligence.” – Will Ferrell, University of Southern California, 2017

And lastly, a reminder to always find the humor in a situation:

“Follow your passion, stay true to yourself, never follow someone else’s path unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path then by all means you should follow that.” – Ellen DeGeneres, Tulane University, 2009

Congratulations to the class of 2017!

Jessica Mitchell is the Marketing & Design Coordinator at Youth Resources of Southwestern Indiana.