Advice to the class of 2012

June 01, 2012

Readers and community leaders offer some words of wisdom to the graduating class.

Whatever you do in life, you will encounter and be challenged with failures and successes. Through it all, the ultimate challenge is to serve others. Robert Wood Johnson, former chairman and a member of the founding family of Johnson & Johnson, crafted the company's credo in 1943, saying "Our Credo challenges us to put the needs and well-being of the people we serve first." — Mary Anne Burke, executive director of Washington County Arts Council

Be proud of your accomplishments, but don't rest on your laurels. Continue to work hard and show respect and kindness toward others. —  Ranelle Flurie, owner/artistic director of Ballet and All That Jazz

Timeless advice was given by King Solomon when he said, "My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths."  Proverbs 3:1-2, 5-6 New International Version — Vesta Myers, reader

Show up;  the world is run by people who do. Work hard, be professional, respectful; you will be noticed. Appearance counts; dress for the job you want, not the job you have." —  Rochelle Morrell, executive director of Children's Village of Washington County Inc.

 Welcome to the real word — now you've got to find your niche so that you can have employment. School is a stepping stone to what you're faced with every day. To ongoing situations that you're not in control of, you must learn to apply your education. Stay focused to keep that job, and take pride in everything you do. Life is short, so learn to make the best of it. — Ron Lytle, executive director of Contemporary School of the Arts & Gallery Inc.

Get ready for whatever is next. Don't wait. The only thing you can control is your character. Be kind. Listen. Remember. Always get a sense of history.  — Tom Riford, president and CEO of, Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau

My congratulations to every graduate in Washington County. Your hard work and determination to graduate already speaks loudly about your character. Always keep your dreams alive. No matter who or what event happens to you, always keep dreaming of what  you can and will do to achieve a better life. As George Bernard Shaw, the great writer, put it so well: "Some people look at things that are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?" God bless you in your journey.  — Blanton Croft, member of the Advisory Council, Washington County Commission on Aging

I would share with the graduates a quote from Mark Twain: "Dance like no one is watching.  Sing like no one is listening.  Love like you've never been hurt and live like it's heaven on Earth."  —  Pastor Ed Heim, St. John's Lutheran Church

Regardless of career paths chosen, allocate priority time to the understanding and management of money and investments; and the necessity of securing a financial future for yourself and those dependent upon you.

— Dave Redding, reader

Discover yourself! You are not anyone else, you are the only unique you that has or will ever live. Don't compare yourself to others. Realize that each of us is one of a kind. We all have strengths and weaknesses.

Have you interviewed those who love you and care about you as to what they see in you? Don't be afraid of feedback. Perhaps your brother, feather, sister or mother can give you valuable insight as to the real you. Talk to your preacher, priest or rabbi or teachers, professors, guidance counselor.

As you reach out to those who know you best, you might discover latent talents, treasurers or passions within that you did not see or were overlooking.

Average people can have extraordinary gifts for society, keeping your eyes on the prize that's best for you.

So many opt for a profession that will fulfill their desire to become rich and prestigious. It's my considered opinion that riches can be achieved in many ways. Perhaps, inner peace and satisfaction in doing something for humanity will be reward enough.

Ever hear the old adage that life is not fair? My belief is that life is much more fair to the individual that pays his or her dues by study and relationships. Now that you've graduated, feel confident that you can compete in the marketplace, whether that be a career or more education.

No matter what career you have focused on, always be open to other possibilities.

Where do you want to be 30 years from now?

Congratulations, graduate.

— Richard Baumgartner, reader

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