This past Friday, was my first grad where I was the principal of the school. We have been doing many great things at our school this year and I was excited to see the Class of 2014 cross the stage and shake their hands. The ceremony, banquet, and dry grad were all fantastic and as usual the kids were amazing. As tradition for the principal of the school, I had to give a speech. I was nervous and honoured at the same time; here are my words and my 3 requests for the class of 2014.
Good Evening Ladies and Gentlmen, honoured guests, moms, dads and guardians, families, staff, the Bloom Community and most of all the Grads. My name is Bryan Out, I am the Principal of Charles Bloom, and am honoured and privileged to have the opportunity to say a few words tonight. In the time honoured tradition of marking milestones in our lives, graduation from high school is a significant one. Some say it is the closing of one chapter and starting a new one, some say it is the start of “real life” – describe it how you want, it is important day in your journey in life and to all of you grads I say congratulations. To your parents, guardians, family and friends, to them I say thank you very much for all the love and support that you have provided along the sometimes bumpy road to graduation. To the staff of Charles Bloom, thank you for your unending support of our grads, and all our of kids at Charles Bloom, and the hard work you put in each day to make connections and provide fabulous learning opportunities for each of our kids. To the Bloom Community, thank you for your all of your support and opportunities that you provide for grads, and all the kids in our school.
Over my last 3 years at Charles Bloom, I have had many opportunities to talk with each of you. Sometimes the talks are about some not so nice things, or you dread me coming up to you and respond with an “It wasn’t me” or “Okay, Mr. Out what did I do now”. While I enjoy working through those learning experiences with you, I equally enjoy the conversations I have with you about how things are going in your life and what your plans are. You must know, you aren’t entering the real world, you are already in the real world and are making decisions that impact you each day.
I hope that your memories of Charles Bloom are good ones and that tonight is a memorable one for you. But before you head off to life after grad, I have 3 requests and I hope that each and every one of you can fulfill these requests.
The first request, be a seeker. What do I mean by this? For the last 13 years, you’ve mainly been told what you need to learn or courses you need to take. After you are done at Bloom, it’s your choice on what you want to learn – but please don’t stop seeking information. It doesn’t matter how you seek it – newspaper, tv, internet, or from an individual – you must continue to seek and gather new information, don’t stop learning. And when it comes to seeking knowledge, I must echo what Arnold Scwharzenegger once said “I welcome and seek your ideas, but do not bring me small ideas, bring me ideas to match our future.” Further, if you haven’t figured it out yet – seek out your passion. Each one of you is unique and have your own interests and some of you already know your passion in life, if you don’t, what experiences are you going to seek to determine your passion. The last thing to seek, as cheesy as it sounds, love and friendship. Seek out those you will support you and unconditionally care for you. Life is much more fun when you are in the company of others that care about you and are concerned for your well-being.
My second request, be a maker. A maker of what, you may ask – it doesn’t really matter, just make something, whether it be a piece of art, a bale of hay, fix an engine, share a tweet. You need create something to share with others. Show your knowledge and talent. Joss Whedon, who wrote and directed a small movie called the Avengers said “Write it. Shoot it. Publish it. crochet it. sauté it, whatever. MAKE.” For your current or future job or maybe to share your passion or create content that some one else will read, eat or live in, whatever it is – take pride in what you make, and try your best at it. It doesn’t mean that it has to be perfect, or you have to get it right every time – you just need to be a maker. Add to the greatness of what is around you and make something.
My third and final request, be a contributor. If you are a seeker and a maker you need to also contribute. You need to share your work and thoughts with others. Sheryl Sandberg, the CEO of Facebook, has said “It is the ultimate luxury to combine passion and contribution. It is also a very clear path to happiness.” We, as society, need you to contribute and share your ideas, passions and what you make – and I know each of you has the ability to do this. We need you to contribute and be citizens who are in engaged in their community. But not only must you share of you, you must also give back. You need to contribute to society in a positive way and you need to help others that need it. In a recent meeting, I heard about a study that had a group of individuals volunteer and give back to those in need over a 12 week period. At the beginning of the 12 weeks the volunteers had blood work done to measure things like cholesterol and at the end of the 12 weeks they had the same test done. Here’s what they found – the individuals who volunteered, their cholesterol levels decreased compared to a control group of those people who did not volunteer. I found this piece of information amazing. So not only is being a contributor and giving back good for others – it is also good for you emotionally and physically.
As grads you have accomplished something that no one can take from you, no matter what, and I congratulate you. As I wrap this up I want to leave you with some words from John Spencer who writes a blog called Education ReThink that I read,
May you live boldy
May you love humbly
May you never quit searching for wisdom.
Congratulations to the Charles Bloom Grad Class of 2014 and to wherever your journey in life may take you please do your best to seek, make and contribute.