Where has the time flown? And look at how much these children have grown?

Each year I sit through Portland High School’s graduation ceremony and my brain is flooded with memories of these children — no, young men and women — as they cross the stage to receive their high school diploma.

It’s been 13 years of education for these teenagers. And for graduate Kemper Dixon, it’s been 13 years of education without a single day missed.

I wonder if the last 13 years of their lives went by as quickly for them as it did for us parents? I wonder if they know how many times we prayed for guidance and wisdom as they took new steps in their lives — like when they got their driver’s license, or when they had their first date, or started their first job.

I wonder if we as parents did enough in the 18 years of their still young lives? Did we teach them to make right choice? Did we teach them how to wash and fold laundry the right way? Did we teach them how to manage their finances? Did we teach them enough about manners and respect? Did we teach them to become better parents than we ever were?

It’s been a fun ride Class of 2016, right? It hasn’t been easy, but you’ve learned a lot along the way. Or at least I hope you have. I know we parents have!

So what words of wisdom does Miss Sonya have for you? I know you’ve heard a lot of great things from me over the years, but I want to leave you Panthers with one last thing.

It was during a commencement exercise in earlier years that I heard a profound quote; it is the perfect quote to leave you with:

“If you shoot for the moon, you might hit the stars. But if you shoot for the stars, you might hit the fence.”

May the moon that shines so bright guide you along during your darkest nights, and may the Son always guide you during every second of your days.

The future is uncertain, Class of 2016, so I urge you to work hard, love deeply, be fiercely loyal, and remember that Panthers Prowl Together. Take that first leap into your life and make each step after count.

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