Class of 2019

By Kate Reeves, Georgetown ‘23

It seems like yesterday we came here aiming to foster the flames of curiosity that claimed our brains – ready to learn, to grow, to play the game. We became new people in this short time frame; identified passions with which to define our names; sought to remain our true selves, but never leave the world around us the same.

That is why I hope we remember, as we move on to all that awaits, that it is the obligation of those who were given great opportunity to create opportunities for others. It is our responsibility to locate ways we can use the roads that have been paved for us to elevate those that surround us. My classmates, with all of your talents, so many incredible things wait beyond these gates.

As you become CEOs and leaders who dictate orders, use your voice to advocate, to narrate the stories that need to be told, to activate change. Invest and donate in causes that stimulate human growth. Associate with honest people, emulate that same character, calculate the long term profit of being ethical.

As you become scientists and inventors who innovate solutions, contemplate the way somebody else would think about them. Go beyond tolerating and accommodating, until you are fascinated by a new perspective. Start rotating your view of the world, and appreciate seeing it upside down. Collaborate with those who demonstrate they too can abdicate the throne of their own mindset, and let all of you ideas culminate into something that will stimulate imagination.

As you become public servants who legislate, negotiate, and defend our state, administrate dutifully, but also keep educating yourself, keep becoming irate at every injustice, keep celebrating each win, keep articulating your plan until you have motivated those around you to accelerate a movement. Never separate a decision from the people it affects; always be someone who doesn’t just demonstrate they can do something but who dedicates themselves to something.

As you become artists who captivate eyes with each elaborate trait of your work, know that pencils and paint permeate far beyond the paper, that each exaggerated line will resonate into the estate of another person’s perception. Your watercolors will saturate thoughts, your pastels will integrate ideas, and your crayons will decorate minds until an interpretation of your image will dominate and liberate their conception of the world.

As you become people who gravitate to so many meaningful careers, refuse to terminate your dreams because never trying is always worse than trying too late. Penetrate the limit of the sky and defy fate. Know that yes, you have to compete, but you also have to be a teammate. Anticipate how you want to make the world a better place and formulate an equation for your future that will translate that goal into a reality.

As you leave this ceremony and start a clean slate, remember to appreciate what you came from, remember that you came here to do more than graduate, you came to radiate kindness, to orchestrate change, to navigate the seas knowing it is more than just your ship. Remember that you are designated to do great things, but I am also mandating that you circulate that greatness. Remember that even as we debate the best ways to regenerate the complicated world around us, we are all innately born with the same goals. Concentrate on relating through our common quest for safety, for prosperity, for health, for a world devoid of hate. 

Class of 2019, our time here was finite. And even though it would be polite to tell you that you will all accomplish amazing things on your own, that wouldn’t be quite true. Because despite how talented you all are, what I want you to remember most of all is that to do anything great, we must unite. You are all like shining lights, but combined we shine brighter. Combined we can solve the problems we all have our sight set on solving, combined we can raise valleys to new heights, combined we can make what’s wrong right.  Class of 2019, we have power inside and among us that we are ready to ignite.