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June 22, 2021

Doug Creamer column: To the Class of 2021

By Doug Creamer

My nephew graduated from high school in May. He will head off to Virginia Military Institute in the fall. He has a passion for the military and enjoys reading military history. I think he will do great things for our country. I am thankful for him and the many others who choose to serve our country.

I feel bad for the class of 2021 because so many of the graduates who attend public schools have missed much of the fun stuff from their junior and senior year due to the COVID pandemic. I hope they understand this has been a world-wide event and they have not been singled out. Hopefully, things will improve going forward.

The graduating seniors did miss out on some of the fun senior traditions. Many schools did not have their prom last year or this year. I did hear that some schools were able to have their prom this year. I also saw where some schools had their senior awards day. Maybe some things are beginning to return to normal.

Many school systems are having or just had their final exams. Exams always signaled that the end was within reach. It was a busy time, but I always knew I was almost there. I have to admit that I do not miss the absolute exhaustion I always felt at the end of the year.

I do think I miss…a little…going to the graduation ceremony. It’s not the ceremony itself that I miss, but saying good-bye to the graduating seniors. I liked walking through the crowd and seeing my students, shaking their hands, and wishing them good luck.

I also miss the graduation speeches. While many of them had similar content, I always heard some unique thoughts that often inspired a new column. I have often wondered what I might say if I was given the chance to speak to a group of graduating seniors. I would have to keep my thoughts short.

So here are my thoughts to the Class of 2021: Congratulations graduates! You have had a very unique journey to this day. None of us could have imagined what we have experienced over the last two years. The best thing to learn from the situation is that life can be very uncertain. No one knows what tomorrow holds, so live each day to its fullest.

I encourage you to love the people in your life and let them know your love by your words and your actions. Love lasts forever and heals many wounds. People may not remember all that you accomplish, but if show them love, they will never forget you.

Look for the good in life. Everyone has plenty of bad days, days you wish you had never gotten out of bed. Even on the bad days there is always something good in your life. Look for it, embrace it, and share it with others.

Be thankful every day. Be thankful for your family, friends, job, place to live, and all the many possessions that you acquire in life. A thankful heart is joyful and contagious. A thankful heart builds within you an appreciation for all that is good in life.

Always show appreciation to others. No one is successful on their own. It only takes a moment to thank someone. Honor people in your life who have helped you and encouraged you along the way. Don’t forget your teachers, parents, and pastors.

Take good care of your physical body — it’s the only one you get. Life is full of ups and downs, so tend to your emotions. Give yourself the time, space and permission to deal with them. Make it a priority in your life to grow spiritually. That includes praying and talking to your heavenly father. Reading books is great for the mind, but don’t neglect reading the good book. It is so important to stay connected with people, especially in spiritual matters. People can be there to lift you up on the bad days, challenge you to be the best you God made you to be, and encourage you when life is tough.

I want to thank you for taking time to listen to my words. I want to encourage you to apply them to your life. You have learned so much in school, now comes the time to apply what you have learned so you can reach for the stars. God has made some great plans for your life, an exciting and wonderful adventure. Put your faith and trust in him and see where the adventure takes you. Congratulations to the Class of 2021! We are proud of you.

Contact Doug Creamer at PO Box 777, Faith, NC 28041 or doug@dougcreamer.com .

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