Good evening, parents, family members, friends and  prospective graduates. On behalf of the board of  education, administration, faculty, and staff of the Big Bay  de Noc school District I would like to congratulate each of  you for meeting the criteria necessary to receive your  diploma.  

The milestone you have just accomplished can never be  diminished. From learning how to tie your shoes in  Kindergarten....(or in my case 7th grade) to factoring the  quadratic equation, all were important in building the  academic foundation upon which your future will rest.  Even more important are the human relation skills that you  have acquired. This could not be done without the  socialization of a formal education or without the sacrifices 

your parents have made to raise you to respect yourself and  respect the individuals you come into contact with. Most of  all that foundation could not have been built without all the  effort you have put forth over the last thirteen years.  

 It has been my good fortune to be able to live in several  communities in Michigan over the course of my career.  Let me say unequivocally, the students who attend this  school are head and shoulders above anywhere else I have  worked, with regard to the figurative size of their heart,  their confidence in being able to initiate a simple hello to  an administrator in front of all their peers, and  demonstrating doing the right thing even when no authority  figure is watching. Even though my wife, kids and I are  close to 400 miles from our hometown, we have been  made to feel at home here.  

Thanks to you, graduates, for leading the way this school  year and making our family feel welcome and appreciated. 

Yogi Berra, baseball player, coach and master of the  malapropism once said, “You can observe a lot just by  watching.” What I have observed is a group of people that  I am proud to have served. A group of people who can,  should and probably will be successful in whatever field  they choose to enter. A group of people who displayed  genuine patriotism and real tears when our country was  attacked by terrorists last fall. There may very well be an  erosion of values among some of today’s American youth.  There is however, no shortage of high quality, responsible  and respectful citizens being produced by the collective  communities that make up the Big Bay de Noc School  District.  

I wish you all the luck in the world as you step into the next  new, fresh and somewhat frightening stage of your life.  There is one bit of advice to leave you with. Whatever it is  you choose to do with your life, make every effort to do it 

better and with a more positive and proactive attitude than  anyone else could possibly do it. 

Finally, it is incumbent upon me to pass along an old Irish  blessing.  

“May the road rise to meet you and may the wind be  always at your back.” 

Thank you