White Bear Lake Area High School Graduation Remarks
June 10, 2016
Welcome families, friends, staff, platform guests, and members of the White Bear Lake Area High School Class of 2016.
One hundred twenty years ago, in 1896, White Bear High School honored Frances Whitaker as our first graduate. Since then our community's high schools, known first as White Bear High, for a while as White Bear and Mariner, and for the past three decades as White Bear Lake Area High School, have graduated more than 20,000 students.
Tonight you become part of this remarkable legacy, joining graduates from earlier classes, now honored and distinguished in their professions and vocations. These graduates live and work in our community, nation, and throughout the world.
What might Frances Whitaker have thought in June of 1896 as she walked to the stage to receive that first diploma? Perhaps she was thinking "I hope I don't trip."
I've not been here for anywhere near 120 years. In fact, I met you first the summer before you began fifth grade, time enough to watch your explosive confidence in fifth grade, awkwardness in middle school, coming of age at North Campus, and emergence as poised young adults at South Campus.
To hear you tell it, the major change that occurred after I arrived was that you were finally bestowed with a few well-deserved...snow days.
In elementary school, do you remember how much you loved to read?
How your teachers nurtured and encouraged you?
A good day was any day you could go out for recess.
In elementary school, you learned the importance of kindness
In middle school, do you remember feeling awkward and unsure of yourself?
Your teachers understood what your were going through and knew how to draw you out. That's the only possible explanation for the corny jokes they told in class.
You knew you could count on them to help you with a project or an assignment in a way that didn't make your feel embarrassed or dumb.
A good day was any day you could count on a friend.
In middle school, you began to understand the meaning of courage
In high school, only as a Bear could you start high school not once but twice.
For two years at North Campus you wandered around in circles, trying to look like you knew where you were going.
Just when you finally could navigate the circles, we sent you to South Campus, where we helped you develop a "growth mindset" by challenging you with straight hallways, squares and rectangles, and something unknown at North called an intersection. Your whole high school experience felt like something out of a geometry textbook.
Your teachers taught not only their subjects, but about life.
A good day was one in which no one asked, "what do you plan to do after high school?"
In high school, you begin to understand what it means to think
Tonight we honor you. We are your teachers, family, friends, and community.
As you walk across the stage, someone in this arena will remember
- When you were a tiny newborn and breathed your first breath;
- When you let go of your mother's hand and climbed on the bus for your first day of kindergarten;
- When you acted with kindness to someone who needed a friend; and
- When you faced and overcame challenges...again and again.
Class of 2016, we send you off with our congratulations, confidence, and White Bear Pride.
Wherever you go, remember us