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Chester County Press

Advice to graduates from Ace Ventura

06/18/2014 09:59AM ● By Acl

For about fifty weeks a year, the editorial staff at the Chester County Press covers, to the best of its ability, the news of the towns and neighborhoods of southern Chester County. From Chadds Ford to Oxford and beyond, it is our mission to to toss a proverbial editorial lasso around local politics, business, education, culture, sports and newsmakers, in order to tell you the continuing story of where we all live. For two weeks every June, however, we attend the commencement exercises of Avon Grove, Unionville, Oxford and Kennett High Schools, and from our seat, witness the future of our world. We take their photographs. We speak with them. We speak with their parents and their administrators, and in our stories, we dictate the wisest of their speeches. These moments, the events we get to cover in words and photographs, remain some of our favorite assignments in any given year.

June is also the time of year when our social media delights in sharing advice given to graduates from some of our world's leaders, our most famous entertainers and our most prominent dignitaries, each of whom don commencement cloak and dish out advice for twenty minutes, collect their generous paycheck, and vanish along with their address. Too often, the reason they accept such speaking engagements is more for their personal gain than for their audience's. They speak in order to push across an agenda, sell a book, promote an idea and, far too frequently, their words to graduates merely clarify how they made their mark on the world – rather than use their time at the podium to inspire others. 

One commencement address recently given by a famous person has not only become a grand exception to the rule, but one that has gone viral. Jim Carrey, the comedian who brought us “Dumb and Dumber,” “The Mask” and “Ace Ventura,” delivered a commencement address to the graduates of the Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, that flew so directly into the face of his public persona, a speech that was given with such truth, candor and inspiration, that it has already become the barometer by which other commencement addresses should be judged. 

The Chester County Press wishes to offer a very small portion of Carrey's speech as a gift to the graduates of our local high schools, as a reminder for them that as they embark on their journey, to remember that sometimes, the greatest messages we will ever hear are delivered by the unlikeliest of messengers.   

"Like many of you, I was concerned about going out into the world and doing something bigger than myself, until someone smarter than myself made me realize that there is nothing bigger than myself. My soul is not contained within the limits of my body, and my body is contained within the limitlessness of my soul.”

You can spend your whole life imagining ghosts, worrying about the pathway to the future, but all it will ever be is what’s happening here, the decisions that we make in this moment, which are based in either love or fear. So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality. What we really want seems impossibly out of reach and ridiculous to expect, so we never dare to ask the universe for it."

"You are ready and able to do beautiful things in this world, and as you walk through those doors today, you will only have two choices: love or fear. Choose love, and don’t ever let fear turn you against your playful heart."