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‘Go do great things’

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In the minutes before graduation, Middlesex High School principal Susan Fleet captures the moment with students Kayla Paulos, Matthew Hicks, Joey Hoffman, Sydney Hudson, Caleb Bagley, Kasper Albert, Toni Adams and Lyndsay Greene. (Photo by Tom Chillemi)

by Tom Chillemi

During the 70th Middlesex High School graduation featured speaker Ashland Stein Burch encouraged the class of 2019 to “make the most of each day with your friends and family. Tomorrow is promised for no one. Give hugs, say I love you and shake off the small stuff.”

To those entering the workforce, Burch, a 2005 graduate of Middlesex High School, recommended, “Find something you love. The cliche is true, that if you do something you absolutely love, you will never feel like you are working your life away.”

As for their goals and dreams, she said, “Don’t be afraid to change directions and rewrite your path if you are chasing a dream! No matter what path you are following, remember it is your own! No two of you here in this room will do the same things, even if you have chosen the same profession or the same academic institution. You have the opportunity to write your own chapters in your very own book.”

Regarding adversity, Burch said, “I can tell you from my own experiences that life will happen, knock you down, throw you off course, change the direction you are headed and downright discourage you.” She added that the same strategies used in sports can be used in life.

“First of all, you must stay in the game, because giving up gets you nowhere. Second, you might have to change up your strategy because if you keep doing what you have been doing, you will keep getting what you have been getting.”

For those headed to college, “I understand choosing a major or a vocation is stressful, moving out, managing your money, and worst of all, grocery shopping is stressful too!  

“I have always believed that your only regrets in life should be those moments and experiences from which you didn’t learn something,” said Burch. “You are going to make mistakes and try things you might not like, but allow those experiences to shape your future decisions.”

Read the rest of this story in this week’s Southside Sentinel at newsstands throughout the county, or sign up here to receive a print and/or electronic pdf subscription.

posted 06.12.2019

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