Mohonasen graduate Jourdyn Nicholson took a chance in her commencement address Saturday to pass a piece of advice from her dad to her classmates.
Actually, from founding father John Adams to his daughter to Nicholson’s dad to her to her classmates.
While away from his family on congressional business, Adams wrote to his daughter a simple set of words to live by: “To be good and to do good is all we have to do,” Adams wrote.
Nicholson said her dad has shared that advice with her and her siblings countless times, calling out to her, “Be good,” as she was leaving the house; she would respond, “Do good.”
So she asked her classmates to do the same, calling out to them: “Be good.”
“Do good,” they called back to her.
The be good-do good message boiled down a guiding principle of her's: Make a difference in the world and leave it a better place than you found it.
“It is not enough to coast by without making a single ripple in the water,” Nicholson said. “Go out in the big, bad world that lies outside these auditorium doors and do some good.”
Mohonasen High School Principal Kevin Warren reminded the 207 graduates in the Class of 2018 of the good they have already done, the hundreds of volunteer hours, the thousands of hours spent in band or orchestra or on the practice field. Graduates spent more than 60,000 hours in activities beyond their school work, he said. They even ate more than 2,600 order of popcorn chicken; only to be outdone by 2,800 orders of mac and cheese.
“It just goes to show this class cherishes the moment and cherishes being a Mohonasen warrior,” Warren said.
Taryn Williams, another student speaker, reminded her classmates of the all the memories they had shared – the dances and athletic victories and the late-night homework sessions – and told them they were ready to take on the future.
“I see so much potential within these grads and myself,” Williams said. “We don’t have to follow old paths, we can achieve incredible, amazing things whether we go to college or we don’t.”
Christian Shear, the senior class vice president, closed out the ceremony and the students’ time together by showing off not his excitement and strength but his fear. But it’s OK to be scared on this day, he said.
“I am scared, very scared, but I say this in hopes that all of you can take solace in the fact that it’s OK to be scared right not, it’s good it means you care,” Shear said.
And he wrapped things up, knowingly, with the obligatory quote, this one from the philosopher Martin Luther.
“Ever if I knew that the world would go to pieces tomorrow, I would still plant my apple seed,” Shear said, reciting the quote. He then put the quote into his own words.
“Even if we all die tomorrow,” Shear said. “I’m still gonna try my hardest to put in the work necessary to do what I want to do and put my mark on this world.”