Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Message to the Class of 2010

Puyallup High School Commencement
Hans Zeiger
June 12, 2010

Watch a video here.

Thank you Lauren. Mr. Smith, Boardmembers Heath and Ihrig, Superintendent Apostle—my brother Ross Zeiger:

My task this morning is to persuade Dr. Apostle that you deserve your diplomas. If I succeed, you can walk. If I fail, you have to start all over again as sophomores.

At the dawn of time, about eighteen years ago, the class of 2010 came into the world.

It was a remarkable moment in history. About that same time, a new word entered our vocabulary: internet. You in the class of 2010 have never known life without it. Think how much the world has changed since you and the internet were born. And consider the opportunities as well as the challenges before you.

Not least is the challenge of remembering what it is to be human.

For all the technological wonders that mark our age, nothing can replace the wonder of the person sitting next to you. No collection of online information can take the place of the teachers who have guided you through school. And no number of Facebook “friendships” can improve on the awesome potential for love and service that you’ve known in a flesh-and-blood community.

You in the class of 2010 are the inheritors of a grand story—generations old, borne of extraordinary generosity, and deeply infused with pride of place.

One hundred years ago, 1910, the new Puyallup High School opened its doors. Ninety-nine Junes ago, the great educator Edmund B. Walker presented diplomas to the first class. To the sons and daughters of Puyallup who walked after that class, the friendships and values formed here have been a source of strength in the midst of the years.

Today, a new generation of Vikings is waiting at the commencement platform. Because our hopes are invested with yours, today is a happy day. It is also sad, because it’s hard to say goodbye.

But always remember that you can come home.

As you part ways today, take inspiration from the significance of your heritage. Wherever you go now, let them know that you come from a place called Puyallup. Tell them that purple and gold runs in your blood. Then come back here to this Valley and let it run on.

And so, I have one charge for you this morning: Never forget where you come from. May it be your lifelong ambition to give generously to the community that has given so much to you. Puyallup means “The Generous People.” All around you is proof that we live up to our name. Your task in the years ahead is to continue that great tradition.

God bless you.

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