“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” –Mark Twain

Last week, the graduating classes of 2019 were celebrated across the county. They donned their caps and gowns, diplomas and achievements were announced, tears were shed, and well wishes exchanged. The next generation of Lawrence County’s brightest closed one chapter in their lives to begin the next.

Some are getting ready to attend their first semester at a college or university, while others are focusing on a path that will help them perfect their studied trades. Some graduates may go directly into the workforce in the coming weeks. Some may pursue a career through the military. Others may have the opportunity to travel and study abroad.

Whichever path is chosen, graduates, trust your instincts, and follow your passion. Don’t be afraid of taking risks and trying new things. Mistakes are learning opportunities, and you have a lifetime of learning ahead.

Whether you decide to travel to other corners of the nation or even beyond, remember the places you’ve been and those faces and voices who’ve helped shape you. Remember your roots as you break new ground elsewhere, and be thankful for the experiences you’ve had up to this point.

Don’t let them hold you back as you continue to move forward, but again, never stop learning.

Above all, in anything you venture, always choose kindness. One day, you’ll be able to pass your wisdom along. In the present, listen with an open heart and an open mind, and seize every day with purpose.

 This may be a time of uncertainty for some. For others, they may have had their course mapped out since seventh grade. Standing at this crossroad now, celebrate and be glad for where you’ve been. Take a deep breath and enjoy the journey to your future. Congratulations to all our 2019 graduates.

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