Tim Burke

  • Saturday, June 12, 2004 9:00pm

I’d like to start off by saying thank you to all the people who helped us get to this point: Our parents, teachers, the staff here at Archbishop Murphy, and anyone else who may have assisted us along the way.

The past four years have been great. They’ve seen us mature from wide-eyed freshmen to the confident bunch of young men and women that we are today. And soon we’ll be doing it all over again, as we prepare to enter the next phase of our lives.

Come September, we’ll be going to various and sundry locations across North America where each of us will have to decide what it is we wish to do with our lives.

Obviously, this is a very personal decision, and some of you may already know what choice you will make. If you do, have peace in your knowledge for it will avoid you many hardships in life. But, if you don’t, I would extol you: Do not fear to take your own road.

There may be safety in choosing the mainstream, but there is freedom in finding your own way. Freedom to act as your conscience tells you, and freedom to find the path that is right for you. It will not be the same as the classmate sitting next to you. Do not try to make it so. Just as our talents vary, so too do our paths. And just as God calls each of us to different ends, so too must we be ready for that call.

The truth of this is all around us. Aristotle knew it, so did Euripides, Abraham Lincoln, and Albert Einstein. Even Harry Potter figured it out in the Chamber of Secrets. And I know we too have all seen it for the past four years, so I would just like to share some of those experiences with you, ones that I feel most exemplify this individuality and openness in our own class.

Perhaps the most obvious is the service we all do; everyone takes their own skills and uses them to help others. We didn’t all work at the same place or do the same jobs. Just this past year people served at jobs ranging from building houses, to feeding the homeless, to teaching 6th graders math. The varied interests we all have lead us in these separate directions and the result is that I do not know anyone who wasn’t touched or changed in some way by what they did. It may not have been a sudden revelation, and the sky may not have opened to mark its passing, but even subtle shifts in how we perceive the world can be powerful.

There is a danger, though, in plowing your own road. With freedom comes the complete responsibility for yourself and a lack of people to fall back on when you tire. It can be a hard path, but one that we all need to take.

Everybody likes to fit in and we all take comfort in the familiarity of our surroundings. Soon we won’t have that. We won’t know with certainty anymore who will be late for class or who just dumped who. For the Matteo Ricci people, we won’t even get to build a human pyramid next year. Who knows what we’ll be doing ten years from now, or even five, but God-willing it will be something you love, something you’re good at, and something that benefits mankind.

Thank you and everyone have a great graduation.

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