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Editorial: An open letter to the high school graduation class of 2015

06/02/2015 02:13PM ● Published by Richard Gaw


Welcome to your pre-graduation reading assignment. You will be relieved to know that although this is a required read, there will be no homework at the end of it, nor will it include substantive and exhaustive life lessons from your local newspaper's editorial team. Trust us, you will be bombarded with all of that in the coming weeks, when you will be forced to suffer through the pomp and circumstance of your actual commencement, one that will signal the end of one chapter of your life and the beginning of a new one. This, however, we know for certain: That in the coming weeks and months, you will be asked to answer that old chestnut, 'What do you plan on majoring in at college?' or 'What do you wish to do for a career?' so many times that the idea of placing your answer on a sandwich board and attaching it to your chest may as your summer attire may not be that far out of the question.

For now, though, your only assignment is to enjoy the words of some of our nation's top celebrities, who recently threw on some serious bling and academic regalia and spoke to college graduates.

We, as journalists, spend our lives chasing down facts, and as you begin the next chapter of your life, we offer two of them: Your tomorrows will reveal your course in life, and you are smarter than you think you are. Congratulations.

"Don't leave crumbs...Take the lid off the man-made roofs we put above ourselves and always play like an underdog."

– Matthew McConaughey, at the University of Houston

"Remember last Super Bowl, when the Patriots won? You may be thinking of Tom Brady's deflated footballs right now, but I'm thinking of Katy Perry's halftime performance. She was on stage dancing with two sharks. The shark on the right knew every dance move and performed perfectly. But it was the left shark, the one who went rogue and danced to his own crazy beat, who stole the show. So don't ever be a conformist for convenience sake...Be the left shark."

– Meredith Vieira, at Boston University

"We are now deep in the most serious environmental crisis in human history. I believe all of you can avoid this looming disaster. And, as much as I love my 'Uptown Funk,' I nevertheless hope all of you can avoid another Disco Era, and especially those polyester leisure suits."

– Bill Nye, at Rutgers University

"It's time to say 'Good-bye' to the person we've become, who we've worked so hard to perfect, and to make some crucial decisions in becoming who we're going to be. For me, I'll have to figure out how to do an hour-long show every night. And you at some point will have to sleep. I am told the Adderall wears off eventually."

– Stephen Colbert, at Wake Forest University


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