Connor Coughlin was one of the Commencement speakers of the day. His speech was a highlight for me in a day of highlights! I have asked him if I could share his address here. Read it, you’ll be inspired. If you know him, you’ll be amazed but not surprised. He’s a remarkable young man. If you don’t know him, you’ll wish you did and think to yourself, “His parents did such a great job.” If you are an Evergreen Alum, you will be proud that he is one of us! I am. Enjoy, Pat Thompson
Hello HS3 class of 2011, we finally made it.
I would like to start with a thank you to our administrators, teachers and parents who have helped to create a wonderful environment for learning, we love you and appreciate your many sacrifices. I also want to acknowledge my classmates….while I have learned a great deal from my parents and teachers, there has never been a day when I did not learn from you. I will never forget what you’ve taught me.
One of the many things that I have learned at Evergreen, is that we are so much more than a school: we are a community. We are a community of students, teachers, parents, volunteers, alumni and even businesses and taxpayers and while we are no longer students at Evergreen, we can still be an important part of this community. I urge each and every one of you to never forget where you came from, to keep your school and community close to your heart and hopefully someday to give back so that others may follow in your footsteps.
Now is the time in most graduation speeches where I am supposed to tell you a cliché like go forth and be great. I’m not going to do that. The truth is, you’re already great. While the rest of the world was finding more efficient ways of harming each other, you provided a model of how people from all over the planet can come together…people of different colors, people who speak different languages, people from different religions and economic backgrounds…people come together, support each other, respect each other and work together for a common goal. I ask each of you, what could possibly be greater than that?
Another one of the things that I have learned at Evergreen is the impact that we can have on one another. I have heard it said, that people will forget what you do…that people will forget what you say…but they will never forget the way you make them feel. Experts say that you will meet 100,000 people in your lifetime. So here’s my challenge to each one of you: make the world great! I know that sounds crazy, but I have a simple plan that we can all follow. Make the world great by focusing on the 100,000 people that you will meet. Make the world great by showing them you care. Make the world great by telling them your stories and listening to theirs. Make the world great by telling them about a school in a place called White Center that created a culture of trust and respect and showed the rest of the world how people from all over the planet can come together and work towards a common goal.
Think about the effect that this class could have on the world. Each of us affecting 100,000 people and just imagine the effect that each of those people could have on the 100,000 people that they will encounter in their lives.
The truth is, if we are going to change the world we are not going to do it by designing new jeans that make our butts look better or a cooler looking car but by our connection to each other one person at a time. I can think of no better group than the one in front of me to accomplish this.
Thank you , good luck and most of all congratulations HS3 High School class of 2011.