A few age-old adages for our departing seniors- prior to take off.
Each stage of an airline flight conjures up its own sentiments. The launch is exciting, the middle leg mixes smooth air with turbulence, the descent comes with a sense of anticipation- the relief of deplaning and the eagerness to alight on one’s feet, to go.
Our St. Thomas Aquinas High School Class of 2016 is advancing ever closer to Sunday, the day in which they will reach their long-sought destination: graduation. As their four year journey comes to an end and as we celebrate their final steps with them, we offer some timeless reminders that are important to their enjoying a safe and happy journey.
Did you pack your bags yourself?
Mostly. Your ingenuity, your capacity for knowledge, your willingness to access and accept new information belongs to you, absolutely. You are the ultimate creators of your own education by being able, willing and ready to absorb all that our faculty and staff impart to you. However, although your lockers are empty and your backpacks discarded, it is wise to remember those who prepared you for the journey ahead. The teacher who challenged you, the coach who tested your inner resolve, the custodian who taught you kindness by example… remember these folks not only in your memories. Remember them in your prayers.
Would you like an aisle seat or a window seat?
Choose that window seat, Seniors. Don’t let life pass you by but rather embrace the wonder, the color, the magnificence of God’s beautiful world with respect and awe. Regardless of your faith perspective, you have been introduced to a collage of thought and philosophy that deepens your perspective and lends credence to your opinions. Embrace the windows in your life- sit near them, open them widely, and allow as much sunshine to pass through it as you are able to stand. Be that light for someone else.
Your flight time will be XX hours and XX minutes. You will be flying at a set altitude of XX feet/meters at a ground speed of XX miles/kilometers per hour.
When others try and limit you, remember all that St. Thomas Aquinas High School whispered to you: Aim High, Soar Higher. Go Above and Beyond. Set Your Expectations High, Then Wave as They Go By.
You have been given an outstanding education by your parents and by your educators. Know that even as the door closes behind you, this school is ever supportive of your ambitions, your dreams, and your aspirations. Don’t let the world tell you how high you can soar. Set your target goals high- then, yes, wave as they go by.
At this time, make sure your seat backs and tray tables are in their full upright position and that your seat belt is correctly fastened.
Be safe. Be healthy. Sit upright. … Be safe.
Also, your portable electronic devices must be turned off.
As much as you may not want to hear it, don’t forget to look up. Turn off the devices, tuck away the cell phones, walk away from the screens sometimes. The best relationships are borne of words, of gestures, of eye contact. The time you spend on a device is time you could have had smiling at a friend, writing to a grandparent, hugging a parent. Grow in real time and space- don’t lose yourself in cyberspace.
You may experience turbulence during flight.
This is one of life’s unfortunate truths. You will experience ups and downs, smooth roads and rough patches. There will be periods of clear sailing and times fraught with stormy seas. When the hill seems insurmountable or the road too long, call upon the faith that embraced you here at St. Thomas Aquinas. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27
Prepare for Take-Off
The true purpose of a good flight plan does not lie within the intricacy of longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates. The significance of a good flight plan is that it present points of navigation so that pilots are aware of both foreseeable hazards and endless flight possibilities.
Your flight plan has been uniquely individualized- scribed by you, reviewed by your instructors, overseen by your parents. Lay the map widely before you and remember you are top-flight.
Go, Seniors. Your wings are ready.
Go. And soar.