My godchild Kelly graduated from Marist College on Saturday. We sat on the lawn overlooking the Hudson River, a beautiful setting for learning and preparing for the future. At the end of the commencement, Kelly’s future became her present as she and thousands of other college grads across the country crossed that invisible line from student to adult. As so begins the career journeys that they spent the past four years preparing for.
I wrote her resume, and I am convinced that she will be among the very best Special Education teachers any school has turned out. I attribute that not only to the excellent academic standards of Marist College but also, and perhaps more importantly, to her parents, Tom and Cindy, who were her first teachers.
So what advice could I give as her godmother who happens to also be a career specialist? What profound message can I share that she will remember? Kelly graduated summa cum laude, with distinction, and a 3.97 GPA. She worked hard, applied herself, and made the sacrifices that accompany success. She already knows the success formula. What wisdom can I share that's different from the standard “follow your dreams” thing?
Here's what I learned from the mentors who crossed my path along the way:
To make a difference you have to be different.
Opportunity knocks; it doesn’t bang your door down.
Always be on time.
Never step on anyone as you climb the ladder of success.
Praise in public; reprimand in private.
Play the hand you’re dealt.
And finally, some words from Edith Wharton:
“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”
Shine on, Kelly!
Love, Aunt Cheryl