The Future Awaits: A Graduation Speech

Dedicated to my graduating Alisal High School Soccer players and to my  Opportunity Program students.

Dear Class of 2016:                                                                                                            24 May 2016

Well, Congratulations! You have arrived at your destination. You have arrived at Point B!  Do you remember when you started at Point A? You were a shy, obnoxious, underdeveloped, immature, know-it-all, snot nosed kid with dirty shoes and messy hair, and if anyone asked you if you looked forward to graduating, you just gave them a blank stare because you couldn’t even think about what was going to happen at lunch. You just couldn’t see that far into your future. It hurt just thinking about it. Well, it’s four-years later, and here you are, the main character in the epic story of your own life, and the curtain comes up right now!

One thing I can say to you is, “Be prepared. Be well prepared!” Be prepared for the all that the world will throw at you, and it will throw everything it can. You will be knocked down many times by disappointment. You will cry and writhe in pain when things don’t go your way, even after you swear you did all you could to make sure nothing would go wrong. You will fail and it will hurt and you will learn from it! And then you will fail again and it will hurt and you will learn from it.

Another thing I could say to you is, “Get up!” Yes, get your ass up when life knocks you down. Dust yourself off and take a step forward, once more, and meet defeat face to face, eye to eye, and say, “I’m too strong! I’m not stopping…nothing will stop me!” You have to be like a shark. A shark understands the importance of forward progress. If it doesn’t move forward it will die.

Another thing I could tell you is, “Be present!” Yes, be present. Be an active participant in your own life. Open yourself to the abundance of beauty in the world, near and far, and appreciate it, breathe it in, and embrace it. Be present during the many things you will accomplish, during the major events of your life, the rites of passage, like this one today! Look around and take it in. Today is your day!

Another thing I could tell you is, “Forget about it!” Forget about the negative in your life. Forget about ill-feelings. Forget about the pain. Forget about your flaws (Yes, you have flaws). You must forget if you are to move forward.

Another thing I can tell you is, “Be patient!” Things will not happen when you want them to happen. They will happen when they’re supposed to happen. Sometimes you have to let the world unfold without pressuring it. The world will appreciate this and pay you for it. ,

Yes, I could tell you all these things, but I’m not. You will figure these things out on your own. It’s the best way to learn.

Remember this: You already possess many of the tools that you are going rely on to help you navigate the world. You don’t have all the tools yet, but you’ll collect them as you burn through life’s path, as you rush towards your destiny, towards your fate. You will learn many things and you will see many things. You will experience a full spectrum of emotions. You will experience ecstasy of the highest degree, and you’ll smile like a child. You will also experience dejection in its rawest form, and it will hurt. And then you will laugh. This is the cycle of life. Time heals most things. Give things time. Be patient.

Once again, congratulations! I am very proud of all of you, and I don’t have to know you to be proud of you. I also congratulate your parents. They deserve their fair share of credit. They’re the reason you’re here.

Now, move on, Class of 2016! Bigger things await you! Good bye!

Your friend,

Don Marco, El Poeta de la Gente

Mark Cisneros


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