I never wanted to go to these kinds of ceremonies because they felt hollow. I only went to my own to honor my mother's wishes. College was a whole another thing and how I wished she'd been alive. I would've gone happily. And for my PhD, I wanted so very much to walk with my advisor but she was on a year-long sabbatical right after I defended my thesis. So beware of what you wish for. There is so much wisdom in the tradition to mark the end of a phase, the beginning of another. It's a time to reflect upon the blessings, and to receive blessings for the future. I'm so grateful my children have had a good experience and are eager to celebrate these milestones with a smile.
Alex Skattel delivered a very honest and inspiring commencement address. A BE graduate, only thirteen years ahead of this class, he connected well with the kids. He made three points on following your dreams peppered with personal anecdotes.
1. Don't Panic. When he graduated from Clemson, the country was in the middle of a financial crisis. There were no jobs. He lived at home and although many people thought he was lazy and aimless, he was developing an app.
2. Own your Failures. We all make them. It isn't fatal. Apologize instead of making excuses. Be honest. For every success, he's experienced a dozen failures. But that's just the nature of trying to do something difficult.
3. Find your unfair advantage. What do you love to do? What do your friends and family see in you? People who love you will criticize you, push you to do better. Lean in and listen to them. They will cheer you on and support you through your challenging times. Your best unfair advantage is right here--your family and friends. So true!
Bishop Guglielmone reminded us all at the end what's the most important thing: keep the Catholic faith. Let it be an anchor. Make a difference. Be an advocate for good.
We were all hungry after this so headed to Lewis Barbecue. This is probably the first time I've tasted brisket that rivals Michael's on the Big Green Egg. By the time I took a picture, kids had polished off most of the food.