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Interim Bearden High School principal Lynn Hill challenges the BHS Class of 2007 to make the world better:

Bearden High School Senior Class of 2007 — today, May 18, 2007, is a very important day. This ceremony is recognition of your accomplishments over the past four years.

However, it also marks the last time in which you are required to follow Bearden school rules. It is the last day you have to mind the teachers, park in the senior lot or leave the senior lot by 4 o’clock for the band to practice, make it up the hill in time to avoid a tardy, hear Mrs. Bean say “don’t walk out of the cafeteria with that ice cream,” or not use your cellphone between the hours of eight-thirty and three-thirty. I am sure that it will please most of you to know that it is the very last time in which you really have to do anything that your teachers or administrators tell you.

But surely you don’t think I am going to send you off that easy, because we have you for a little while longer.

Today I want to ask you to do something. Then I am going to challenge you to do something. The first thing that I ask of you is notice that I said “ask.” I ask this not as your principal but as your fellow man. While it has been with dedication and honor that I have served as your principal, and that we have served as your teachers and administrators, the time has come to look you in the eye, shake your hand, and speak to you as a fellow human being. I ask that you listen carefully because —because this is a tall order.

Donald Trump once said, “Watch, listen, learn. You can’t know it all yourself. Anyone who thinks they do is designed for mediocrity.”

What these words should mean to you is — as you go out into this world — simply be willing to continue to watch the world around you, listen to those who speak, even if you disagree. If you do this, it is a certainty you will learn. You may agree with what you learn, but are you willing to teach others? You may find yourselves disagreeing with what you hear, but are you willing to step up to make the necessary changes?

That is the challenge I present to you, Bearden High School Senior Class of 2007! I challenge you to be willing to make this world a better place. My question to you is, can you do it? This is not a rhetorical question folks. I will ask you again. Are you willing to take this challenge? Well, good. I am glad to see you feel ready to take this challenge, but not so fast. We, your teachers, parents, and grandparents — the old folks of this world, aren’t quite ready to turn it all over to you just yet. However, I do have good news. Seeing your response is inspiring. You just reinforced what we already know – that you can do it! This world we live in is a great place, we are so blessed in many ways, but it is a work in progress and we need leaders! In order to maintain the greatness of this country, in order to strengthen the family unit, in order to improve education, create cures, and to inspire, we need leaders at every front.

Right here in this room, in your class, we need and have young men and women who have already committed to serve this nation and lead our great country into a state of safety and security! You are to be commended for hearing your country’s call.

In this very room — I know that many of you will make the commitment as you start your own families, to lead your children by teaching them how to be good and honest people so that they can do the same for their children.

In this room — I look out and I see future leaders in our schools, future teachers who will touch the lives of many, perhaps the way some of these teachers have touched your lives.

A wise old man once said, “The teachers I remember the most are the ones that made me work harder than I wanted to.”

The same can be said for those individuals, perhaps you, that are willing to step up to the plate and work to inspire and motivate others to make the necessary changes in this world through leading by example.

It is in this room that I see individuals who could well be finders of cures for heart disease, cancer, brain or spinal cord injuries and birth defects. I ask if you are willing to take this challenge. We need you to take this challenge.

I know you can do it!

John F. Kennedy, in his nineteen sixty-one inaugural address said, “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

So it is at this moment that I ask again to accept the challenge of becoming the future leaders that we need.

Whether it is a leader at your work place, at your college, on a battlefield across the ocean, or a leader of your family in Knoxville, Tennessee, we need you!

I know you can be our future leaders!


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