Believe, keep learning, set goals and persevere

By Vern Capelle, Guest columnist

I would like to take a few moments to address our graduates. First, I believe it is important to acknowledge the teachers and staff here at Upsala High School for their dedication to excellence in preparing you for your futures. I am extremely confident that you will go forward today with the skills and abilities that will enable you to be successful.

I would like to read a quote from artist satirist Gary Bolding: “Your families are extremely proud of you. You can’t imagine the sense of relief they are experiencing. This would be a most opportune time to ask for money.”

Graduates, I would like to leave you today with five guiding principles that I believe are important to finding happiness and success in life.

Number one: Find your passion in life. Whatever you choose to do in your future, make sure that you love what you do; this enables you to devote your best to what you do and to enjoy every moment while you are pursuing your dreams.

Number two: Believe in yourself and in your abilities. Maintain a positive attitude in everything you do. You cannot control everything in your life, but you can control your attitude and attitude is everything.

Number three: Set goals. Having goals to strive for is important. It’s very hard to hit a target if you do not know what the target is. When you set your goals, work hard to achieve them. You will find great satisfaction in the completion of the goals that you have have set for yourself.

Number four: Persevere. Inevitably, you will have obstacles and setbacks as you chase your dreams. You will have to deal with unpredictable and unexpected events, and how you deal with these events will ultimately determine where you will end up. Sometimes you may fail and that’s OK. Failure does not define you; how to respond to failure does. The obstacles and setbacks may seem major at the time, but really they represent challenges and challenges present opportunities. Don’t allow these obstacles to derail your dreams — work hard to overcome these and learn from your experiences.

Lastly, keep learning. Your education does not end today, but will continue for the rest of your life. We can always learn. Continue to grow as a person and you will find happiness and success.

I would like to also say thank you. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to your education as your science teacher and dean of students. Thank you for being excellent leaders  over the past year. U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch stated, “There is a good reason they call these ceremonies ‘commencement exercises.’ Graduation is not the end; it’s the beginning.”

I wish you all the best in the future as you embark on this next stage of your journey through life. I know you will represent Upsala High School admirably.

Vern Capelle is the Dean of Students at Upsala Area Schools and gave one of the commencement addresses during graduation ceremonies at Upsala High School.