Good afternoon graduates, parents, families, community members, SC and Superintendent Thomas to our 2018 graduation ceremony. My name is Chris Dodge and I proud to the be principal here at the Dexter Park Innovation School. Today we honor, recognize, and celebrate our 6th grade students and you, their families and support networks.
Graduation is a moment when many contemplate their future and purpose. It can be both a time of great excitement and worry. I certainly remember the anxiousness I felt after graduation. Did I do enough to prepare? Did I make the most out of every experience? Am I ready? And I am here to tell you all, like I told last year’s class, the answer is: no. But it’s okay- you will be ready when it is time. I hope that if there is one thing you learned in your time here is that learning is messy, it takes time, and many mistakes and failures along the way. What matters is that you learn from each moment and continue to move forward,
I am not going to share last year’s message but I will share some knowledge from a favorite author and a speaker. Your teachers know that I have been reading a lot of work by Jon Gordon, and this year we read one of his books as a staff. I want to share some lessons I have learned from his writing, and they are lessons that I hope you take with you as you leave Dexter Park and make an impact at another school. These lessons come from one of Jon’s books titled The Seed.
1. You are here for a reason and the most important thing you can do in life is to find, live and share your purpose. It’s the one thing in life that truly matters and if you don’t pursue it, everything else is meaningless.
2. Follow your passion. It so often leads you to your purpose. You may not know what your passion is right now. That’s ok. The important thing is to make it your life mission to find it, live it and share it. To help find your passion, seek out experiences that allow you to use your strengths and gifts. Do what energizes you.
3. Beware of hobbies. Just because you love spending time on Facebook doesn't mean you would enjoy working for the company, and just because you spend 6 hours a day playing Fortnight doesn’t mean you would enjoy creating video games.. And just because you love to cook doesn't mean you would enjoy owning a restaurant.
4. Quit for the right reasons. Don't quit because work is hard or you're experiencing challenges. Quit because in your heart you know there is something else for you to do. Quit because you are not benefiting yourself or the organization. Quit because you are absolutely certain you are no longer supposed to be there.
5. Learn from every experience. Everything, good or bad, prepares you for the work you were ultimately born to do.
6. The quest for your purpose is not a straight line. It is filled with mystery, signs, obstacles, victories, dead ends, delays and detours. Be optimistic and faithful on your quest.
7. Don't rush the future. You may want things to happen NOW but more than likely if you got what you wanted NOW you wouldn't be ready for it. The purpose process prepares you, strengthens you, shapes you and grows you to be successful, not in your time, but in the right time.
8. Many of you know that I have asked staff to be a duck this month. I want you to Be the Seed. Seeds surrender themselves to the ground so they can be used for a greater purpose. Wherever you do, decide to plant yourself where you are and allow yourself to be used for a greater purpose. When you plant yourself and make a difference you grow into the person you were born to be and produce a harvest that will benefit others and change the world.
I know the staff here join me in saying how honored we are to watch you grow and how we can’t wait to watch you change the world. Congratulations.