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    Remarks to CRLS Graduates 
      CRLS Class of 2016, you are among the lucky ones.  You live in this amazing city, which has given you unparalleled opportunities to discover who you are as an individual at the same time you have learned to live with others as part of a community.  This is one of the essential life balances you will face in the years ahead—taking care of your own needs AND taking care of the needs of others, especially those less fortunate than you.

                 I feel myself connecting to you personally this evening.  Like you, I deeply appreciate the teachers, administrators and support staff of the Cambridge Public Schools—the women and men who have been your guiding lights and my colleagues.  Like you, I am saying heartfelt farewells to them, as we both head off to the next stages of our lives.  Like you, I am excited and perhaps even a little scared, as we leave this familiar place for a future that is unknown.  The truth is, the only thing we really know about the future is that we cannot know it.

                Tonight I think of the words of Nelson Mandela and invite you to join me in reflection upon them: “I learned that courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.  The brave person is not the one who does not feel afraid, but the one who conquers that fear.”  Here is my confession: during the seven years I have served here as Superintendent of Schools, there were times when I did not know what to do.  By the way, that was always the case when it came to calling snow days!  At those times I turned to others for help.  No one person has all the answers.  We act courageously when we allow others in. 

                You and I have been on an exciting, adventurous ride in Cambridge.  You and I have had our ups and downs over the years.  You and I have been strengthened and fortified by our experiences in this community.

                As we part ways, let us always remember what we have learned in Cambridge and carry that knowledge into the world beyond the city limits.  Advocate for yourself, and support those who need help.  Look in the mirror, and look out your window.  The people in your life whom you love, starting tonight with your family—tell them you love them.

                I am so proud of all you have accomplished and know that the world will be a better place for having young men and women, with the hearts and minds you have, making a difference.  Whatever worries or fears you hold close to yourself in secret—like Mandela you will conquer them.  Whatever is your passion—racial justice, economic justice, LGBT justice, gender equity, social justice—go for it!    You can do this.  I believe in every one of you.

                Congratulations, Class of 2016!  I will never forget you.

    Posted by jyoung On June 10, 2016 at 10:55 AM