Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Valdictorians of Bergen County, June 1st
To have the opportunity to address a group of students so worthy of my utmost respect and admiration, is an honor.
You have distinguished yourselves because you have reached for the golden ring and now; you hold it in your hand.
But you wouldn’t have gotten it, if you hadn’t dared to reach. There are other students who may be just as smart or creative as you, but unless one dares to exceed normal expectations, one cannot arrive at greatness.
Excellence requires not only talent, but also risk.
It requires heart - for the long days and nights you need to get an assignment just right. It demands self-respect, direction and the willingness to stand alone - to go against the grain.
Nobody in this room is here by accident. Your stories and efforts matter!
I believe you do honor to some long forgotten ancestor, whose blood flows in your veins. In some way, his or her struggle has helped you to achieve your dreams: He came across an ocean. She crossed a desert. He was denied a college degree and she couldn’t vote. Somehow, they survived.
Today, you do honor to your schools and to Bergen County.
This is a day to stand tall and proud.
We do not hold you up today because you are perfect, but because you have excelled, achieved and endured. It is an honor to meet you. Follow your passion, seek mastery and never give up! Congratulations!