Ignite. Empower. Imagine.

Park Academy Class of 2018

To The Class of 2018…

Photo credit: Vern Uyetake, Lake Oswego Review

Written by Craig Lowery, Head of School

This past Monday, Park Academy had the proud honor of ushering 7 new graduates into the world.  These students have demonstrated a great deal of grit and resiliency as they completed the difficult journey that is High School.  The process of writing and delivering words for a graduation ceremony can be very personal and reflective and I feel honored to have had the opportunity to share a few thoughts with the outgoing seniors.  As they embark on the next leg of their journey, many of us are looking toward summer and the years to come.  I thought it would be fun to share the words given to the seniors with everyone as we all continue down our own paths!

To the class of 2018….

Tonight we have the honor of watching these graduates take the last steps of an incredible journey and take the very first steps of a new journey filled with hope and adventure. Well graduates, here we are.  This is the last time I get to use my teacher presence, my teacher voice.  The last time I have you as a captive audience.  The last time I get to talk at you and you have to pretend to listen.  Over the course of my still evolving journey I have received a lot of advice, “words of wisdom,”  some of it I have listened to… and too much of it I have not… or at least not yet.  These words of wisdom have been collected over time from songs, speeches, myself, friends and colleagues and sometimes even a good inspirational poster or meme. In the upcoming days and weeks you will get lots of advice, some of it good and some of it awful.  It will come from your parents, friends, grandparents, and maybe even the grocery store cashier.  It will seem like everyone has some input to give, some sagely advice, some kernel of wisdom to offer.  It’s not because we are nosey or pushy, it’s because we care, it’s because we are excited and it’s because we are a bit jealous of the world of opportunity ahead of you.  I am going to use my last time with you as a captive audience to share my two cents. For what they are worth… here they are:

  • Laugh out loud and laugh often.
  • The world is a gigantic place with adventure around every corner. Don’t live in one tiny pocket of that world. Go out there and experience it.
  • Brush your teeth…someday you will thank yourself that you did and the rest of us will thank you for every day you do.
  • Listen first, talk later.
  • If you make a mistake, and you will! Apologize. Sincerely.
  • Remember that handwritten thank you cards are better than emails which are better than thumbs-ups and likes.
  • Don’t be popular…be yourself.
  • You cannot live on Ramen alone!
  • Stand up for what you believe in.
  • Don’t let anyone tell you your best years are behind you.
  • Being lucky is hard work.
  • If your only tool is a hammer then every problem will look like a nail. Carry a big toolbox.
  • Do not serve Beets to guests…everybody hates them.
  • Go for a walk……in a rainstorm, or when it’s lightly snowing, at the break of dawn, by yourself or with friends.
  • Make a difference.
  • Do at least one thing every day that scares you.
  • Perfection is overrated…unless you are a brain surgeon, then perfection is very, very important.
  • Remember every person you meet is a teacher, everyday a lesson… learn from them.
  • Hang on to your friendships… but not too tightly.
  • Call your mom and dad….they worry and you have given them reason to!
  • Don’t put anything on social media you wouldn’t want grandma to read.
  • Ask for help when you need it.
  • Help others every chance you get.
  • For the love of all that is holy DO NOT GET A CREDIT CARD.
  • If you want to get a tattoo, wait 6 months, and only then should you… wait another 6 months.
  • Plan ahead but remember, plans change.
  • Embrace failure. We learn more from our mistakes than our successes.  Just ask Mr. Morrison.
  • If you only remember one thing… In a world where you can be anything, anything at all, anything you choose to be… choose to be kind.

Love and best wishes to the class of 2018!

Found on Mr. Lowery’s desk Tuesday morning:

student note
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