I believe there are many ordinary heroes wearing caps and gowns tonight. Many of you are heroes because you challenge yourselves to be more accepting of those around you. Some of you heroes woke up every day and came to school with the desire to reach out to those hurting and in need of a friend. Other heroes went the extra mile to make someone feel important, encouraging them and offering hope they may not otherwise have experienced.
One of our deepest needs as humans is to be valued. The need to be needed is often more powerful than the need to survive. Every one of us has a deep longing to write our signature on the world. As individuals, we are each equipped with unique gifts and talents to share with our family, our community, and our world. Nelson Mandela once said, "As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." When we open ourselves to become all that we were created to be, we allow those around us to be themselves, empowering them to be a unique individual and to use the talents they possess. It doesn't matter if we are brilliant, beautiful, or incredibly charismatic. We can make a difference by just being who we are. We simpl...
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...ctivities, while encouraging us to be our best. These acts of love and many more are what make you our heroes.
Class of 2012, I challenge you to recognize the heroes in your life, and continue to be heroes yourselves. Author Charles Swindoll said, "We need heroes. I mean genuine heroes, authentic men and women who are admired for their achievements, noble qualities, and courage. Such people aren't afraid to be different. They risk. They stand a cut above." Swindoll's message speaks so highly of those who are heroes and those who have the potential to be heroes. So, here is my challenge to you. Rise above your fears, take risks, and don't let your abilities collect dust. Instead, live life passionately, dream big, and seek every day in ways small and large to write your signature on the planet. But be careful ... you may just empower someone else to do the same.
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