by Craig H. McFarland, Mayor, City of Casa Grande
To Casa Grande’s classes of 2020, thank you for allowing me to celebrate with you and your family. I am beyond honored and thrilled to deliver this message today.
First and foremost, I congratulate each of you for successfully promoting to high school and for graduating from high school. Your magnificent journey has only just begun.
I also congratulate your parents, grandparents, foster parents, aunts and uncles for their tremendous efforts, love and support they’ve given you throughout the years to help you get here, to this moment.
I thank your coaches, counselors and all the amazing teachers who have instructed and mentored you under such extraordinary circumstances.
To you students, I say “bravo” for remaining focused and steadfast on achieving this goal. To all those who have supported you, especially recently, I say, “Bravo and thank you for your ingenuity,” for adapting and creating a way forward for these young, brilliant minds to make it this far.
Wherever you are, students, please take this moment to stand and give a huge round of applause to yourselves and to all who’ve helped to make this day possible for you.
The pathway now presented will lead you to boundless opportunities as well as consequential decisions that, through your personal vision and self-determination, will render your future outcomes accordingly.
Success is now, ever more so, in your hands. It’s in your thoughts, your words and your actions. You hold the key to your future.
Like today’s COVID-19 crisis, unexpected situations will occur to challenge you and your ability to listen critically, discern facts, decide what matters most and act smart.
Meaningful experiences are derived from challenges, conflicts and forks in the road. Everyone faces some level of hardship at some point in life. The important thing to remember is how you choose to approach and respond to each issue will determine the impact and outcome upon your life and, sometimes, on the lives of others around you. So please, always choose wisely.
Ask yourself, can I look past hype to get to the heart of an issue? Can I seek to first understand the how and why before judging others that think differently from me? Can I resolve to look deeper, listen harder and tap into the heartache of others to learn their story, too? Instead of differences, can I find common ground and shared values to create solutions that can help to improve and sustain life and livelihood more abundantly?
If you are able to answer yes to these questions, then you have my utmost gratitude and admiration. For you give us all hope for an even brighter, smarter tomorrow.
These are just some of the very important qualities that you, tomorrow’s leaders, must embrace to lead us all into a more equitable and just future.
But why wait until tomorrow? Why not choose to start today, right now, by determining how your hopes and dreams for tomorrow might be realized today?
Ask yourself: What can I do today to help bring about the change or impact I ultimately want to produce for myself, loved ones and community? What resources do I need? What knowledge do I need to seek? Who do I need to meet or collaborate with? How can I make impact happen sooner rather than later?
You are our enduring hopes and dreams, not just for tomorrow but for today. Continue to challenge yourselves. Continue to ask questions. Don’t ever settle for good enough. Commit to asking “What if?” and “Why not?” Never stop growing. Never stop learning. Never turn down the opportunity to create something better. Never stop believing in yourself. Never stop believing you can.
Thank you — Congratulations and God Bless!