To the Graduates

the passage,
    remarkable not only for great obstacles overcome,
    but for the daily challenges which slowly shape
both mind and soul;

the passage has led you here,
    to a threshold,
    where much lies ahead and this much behind:

you have finished the course
    first set before you such a long time ago,
    then only children – now grown men and women;


look out at the world set before you!
    the fiery dawn at the edge of an uncertain future.
    look out and learn:

courage alone may alter your fate,
    but not as often,
    or as well,
as courage coupled with knowledge!

strength by itself may prove a sufficient aid
    in times of trouble, but a much better
    and more lasting friend
is strength guided by wisdom!

though your journey be far from finished
    or close to its close,
    when you have learned these truths
you will lend to your life a meaning

far beyond the shallow boundaries of time;
    you will triumph over mere circumstance;
    and answer with somber confidence
the very voice of God.

 – Jerry Dan Deutschendorf