I've been preaching at you for nine months now, so I predict that more life lessons would simply result in some eye rolling, possibly even the termination of reading this letter. But you know good and well that won't stop me.
Please remember what we have learned so far. Most of it will be used for years to come. While you lament that some of the material that you learn will never be used again, you must know that the knowledge of how to write and express yourself is a beautiful gift. Use it in your career. Use it in your relationships. Use it in your own personal journey. Nothing is more valuable than the written word because, unlike us, it is immortal.
And now I will give you advice that I haven't yet pounded into you. It is simply this: Education is your lifeline. It's honestly one of the only free things you will ever get. You have people in this building every day who are longing to help you succeed. They're begging for you to try. They incorporate various ways to inspire and motivate, they offer more than enough opportunities for growth, and they love you. They genuinely do. Not all of them, really, but you already know that. But what you also know, or at least you better, is that there are people in this building who are pushing you and educating you and rooting for you because they know what you may not realize yet - that education is the great leveler.
You guys all come from various backgrounds. Some of you will leave this building and go on glorious vacations to foreign countries, while some of you won't leave your neighborhood. Some of you will spend blessed summer days with family that deeply loves you, and some of you won't see your family at all. And frankly, some of you will see family that you'd really rather not see. Some of you will lie on the couch and at the pool and in your hammock, while some of you will work your butt off this summer to provide for your families. Or you'll babysit siblings and cousins so that your parents can work their butts off to provide for your families. But this building - this education - is where it all levels out. You all get the same shot at a good life because education can get you there.
I believe that there are many other factors that are required for a good life: kindness, forgiveness, love, faith, integrity, and solid work ethic. And I pray that each one of you has someone in your life to help you find and foster those things. But don't ever, even for a second, underestimate the power of your education. Do not make excuses and do not blow it off. Most people only get one shot at this, and blowing it off now in the short term will be a life of regret.
The last, and frankly most important, factor is faith. I pray that you know you are fearfully and wonderfully made. I pray that you understand that life struggles are not a punishment from God, but proof that we live in a fallen world. I pray that you seek Him in your decisions - spouse, career, education, adventures. But more than anything, please know how much you are loved and adored.
So have a good summer. Read a book or two. And make good choices. But when you return to this building in August, dedicate yourself to the very best you. Soak up this free education that is being handed to you. Find the value in the classes you hate. Find the value in even the teachers that you hate. And keep your eyes open for those teachers who are longing to help you, because while this education is free, it's also hard, and it never hurts to ask for help. You'll be surprised by how many teachers will be your biggest fan if you just let them in.