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An open letter to graduates

To the Class of 2009:

When you go to get your diplomas, you will hear about how you are closing one door while another one opens. That is true. What you are about to face is the beginning of your adult lives.

Don’t freak out about that. Most likely, it will take a few years before you actually go from being a dependent to being independent. However, now is the time when you begin to make some pretty heavy decisions for yourselves. Going to college and all that entails, searching for and hopefully getting a job or just figuring out exactly what you are going to do in the next few years should take some serious thought.

You will hear all kinds of advice about what you should do. Listen to it, but ultimately, what is decide is totally up to you. As long as you are listening to advice, let me give some of my own based on what I have done and what I have seen others do.

There are some basic things you will need to know in order to live a more independent life:

Learn how to do your own laundry. It’s not rocket surgery, but there is a right way and a wrong way.

Learn how to wash dishes, pots and pans. Sure, there are dishwashers, but you may not live in a place that has one.

Learn how to cook some basic dishes, like hamburgers, hot dogs and food from a can. Like dishwashers, microwave ovens are not everywhere. If you know how to cook those, don’t be afraid to expand your culinary repertoire.

Most importantly, don’t tell yourself you can’t do anything.

Take pride in the talents and abilities that you have and in those that you will learn over the next several years. You are capable of more than you believe, and your ability to learn more and do more will build you into the adult you will become.

As you prepare to leave home and move on to your adult life, don’t think that it is totally over.

You will always have the support of your family, the people you know here, your teachers, your church “family” and others willing to help with any questions you may have.

Take advantage of new opportunities and always do your best. If you do those things, you will achieve, succeed and grow as a person. Good luck as you move your lives forward. I am sure you will make us proud.