Governor Calvo sends a special message to the graduating seniors of the Class of 2013.
VIDEO: You can access the video by clicking HERE. See this and other videos on the Governor’s YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/
AUDIO: Listen to the audio:5.6.13 Weekly Address
TEXT: The text of the address follows:
In a few days you’ll be walking out of school, no longer as students, but as men and women of the world. And as soon as you walk out those doors, life will be waiting for you to make decisions about yourself… decisions that will guide your path for a long time to come.
The reason you’re graduating is because you’re ready. I’m certain you’ve learned quite a lot about history, grammar, and math. Of course that’s part of the reason you’re graduating. But your teachers’ decisions to graduate you have a deeper meaning. They believe you are ready to make decisions for yourself.
Graduates, this is an important distinction. It’s a distinction that’s been lost on so many Guamanians who are older than you. Look around at what’s happening in our island. A woman was taken outside a bakery, then raped and robbed. Another was beaten in her own home. Tourists were slain. An elderly lady was assaulted in a grocery store parking lot.
The criminals are not much older than you. Every day in the police blotter you see the names of people you may know… young men and women addicted to drugs and living a life of crime. I know it’s easy to think the reason they are living these lives is because they didn’t graduate. While that may be part of the reason, many of them have been where you are right now… Many of them did graduate. They just made very poor decisions when they walked out that door.
There is nothing that makes any adult different from those who commit crime, except for the decisions we make. Every man and woman in jail right now… Every man and woman high on drugs right now… at one point in their lives when they were children, they dreamt of being doctors and lawyers… chefs and firemen. They loved Barney and Power Rangers, Superman, Wonderwoman, Strawberry Shortcake and the Power Puff Girls. They were innocent children, and they had big dreams about life. Many of them reached their graduation, too, just as you will.
It is the decisions they made as adults that made the difference.
You have an awesome power beaming from your spirit right now. No matter how well or how poorly you think you did in high school… what matters is what you do as soon as you graduate. It’s a clean slate. You get to start from scratch. You begin anew, and you have the chance to be as great as you always dreamed you could be.
With this power comes a responsibility, because one wrong decision can also cost you your friends, your family, your freedom, or even your life. One wrong decision — and you know the difference between right and wrong — can stain your reputation, or color your future against you.
These decisions you will make will require courage and strength… there’s no doubting that. It’s not easy to turn down drugs and alcohol when people around you are doing it. It’s not easy to save money when all you want to do is party and have fun. Some decisions require you to be brave and to listen to friends and family who love you. You may be in an abusive relationship that you don’t recognize until it’s too late. You may allow yourself to lose a great friendship over someone else who is using you.
If any of this already sounds familiar to you — don’t be surprised. Young adults will make the same mistakes teenagers will. The difference is that before you leave these doors, you can make these mistakes and all will be forgiven. The real world isn’t so forgiving.
But with the right decisions, the world ahead of you is rewarding beyond your current comprehension. With the right decisions, you will go places and see things you’ve never understood before. Sure there are pitfalls and temptations along the way. Things may get confusing. But keep this in your heart and the sky is the limit: do what is right for you and right for others. That’s the key to success.
I have confidence in each and every one of you. Not a single shadow is cast on any spirit in this graduating class. I trust you’re ready to make the right decisions for yourself and for others. You are leaders among your generation, and we are all very proud of you.
Congratulations and God bless you all.