Congratulations to the 2014 graduating class and to the family, friends, and school staff that surround and support every graduating student!
As young adults, you each possess special talents and interests. As new graduates, you are now going forth to be productive adults. Student preparation means much more than academic grades; it is about citizenship, developing your character, work ethic, and your service to others.
I grew up in Lafayette, Indiana, the oldest of five children from a hard-working family. When I decided to become a teacher, I knew I would need a college education. My family could not afford to send me to college, so I had a plan to work 2-3 jobs each summer to earn my way through school and took advantage of college financial assistance programs. There were challenges along the way to getting my teaching degree, but my view of challenges is to turn them into opportunities. My path to becoming a teacher wasn’t easy, but as challenges and barriers arose, I made adjustments to my path and I never lost sight of my goal.
My education didn’t end when I became a teacher. I knew I needed more education to better myself as a professional. I went on to earn two masters degrees. I also became a National Board Certified Teacher. I did not set out to become State Superintendent of Public Instruction, but little did I know that I had been preparing for it throughout my career.
Education opens the doors of opportunity. Whether it is training within your career field to enter the workforce or attending college, education is the foundation on which you will build your future.
You may have just received your diploma, but your learning will not end. As you embark on a career path, continued education will be needed to improve your skills or it will be needed to take you in new directions. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” You are ready to achieve your dreams. Be strong, be confident, and don’t be afraid of the challenges along the way.
As Superintendent of Public Instruction, my vision statement is “Imagining the Possibilities, Making them happen”. It’s a vision that is meant to inspire student learning. Indiana needs you to imagine the possibilities and make them happen, for you are Indiana’s future. Because of you, Indiana’s future is indeed bright!