I want to welcome you all to the Graduation Ceremony for the Joy International High School Class of 2020! We are so proud of our graduates, and we want to celebrate and encourage them together!
There is a custom in graduation speeches to cast a sugar-coated version of the future in which the paths of the graduates are always going to be smooth, easy, and full of clarity. But I want to give a true encouragement from my heart, and that means casting a more realistic, truthful vision of the future.
The fact is that we are living in uncertain times. When you graduates started your senior years last fall, the world felt like a more stable and certain place. Now, as you are graduating, the world feels different. The pandemic changed our lives, and it continues to effect us and our future plans in international education.
It is easy to feel frustrated about this and focus on the negative. However, I have come to see all of our difficulties in 2020 as opportunities to see the world in a a more fundamental way. See, I think that 2020 is reminding us of the fact that, deep down, we do not have as much control over our lives as we wish we did. I think the truth of human life is that the future is always uncertain. And there is an inevitable fragility and vulnerability that is at the heart of the human condition.
I believe accepting this uncertainty and accepting all that is outside of our control is actually a key to finding true happiness and meaning in our lives. This is where I am optimistic. I have seen these students move forward into uncertainty and overcome obstacles, and I believe that they have the qualities they will need as they continue to walk on their paths towards the future.
We may not be able to control all we wish we could, but we are able to control our response to the difficulties we face. In fact, this limiting of our control allows us to focus on ourselves and the values that drive us on the inside. In this way, I am very proud of our graduates.
They exemplify the core values that are at the heart of Joy International School.
•Faith is the stepping into the future and walking forward step by step even if the larger path is unclear or confusing.
•Integrity is understanding our true self and staying true to it even though the external world may try to change or corrupt us.
•Excellence is doing the best that our abilities will allow regardless of whether or not others see us or compete with us.
•Love is opening the heart to all the joy and pain of life, and it allows us to be grateful for the beauty and meaning we can experience.
If we have these core values, then it doesn’t matter what will happen to us. In the end, these core values will allow us to experience a life of meaning and significance. These graduates have these seeds planted in them, and the flowers are already beginning to blossom. I would like to say a few words to each of the graduates now:
Please give all the graduates a round of applause. We are proud of you. We love you. And we are rooting for you deeply as you step into the next phase of the journey of your lives.