I was incredibly honored when a close friend contacted me about providing the graduates at Greenwood Laboratory High School in Springfield, Missouri with “custom” EpicEveryDay Shirts for their graduation. Keith Chaffin inspired the graduates at Greenwood with an incredibly motivational speech and gave each one an EpicEveryDay shirt to stay motivated. Take a minute and read his speech. It’s applicable to everyone, not just the young graduates!!!!!
Graduates, families, friends and faculty, thank you for being here
I remember my high school graduation many many years ago. I remember lining up walking in to the football stadium, I remember someone turned the lights off during the ceremony which we thought was hilarious, I remember after and the relief that I was done with high school.
I even remember later that night stories which I can’t talk about and keep the high standards of a Greenwood graduation.
I also remember 4 years later at my Drury graduation. I remember how hot it was when we were lined up to walk in. I remember the satisfaction and excitement of having a college degree; I remember even throwing my cap in the air.
What I don’t remember about either graduation is the speaker and I bring this up to remind myself I have no pressure with this speech at all.
Last march I’m setting in my office and I get a phone call on my cell phone and caller ID said it was Anabelle.
First reaction was what have I done? Did I mess up a DVR recording or did I delete something I shouldn’t have, anyway with fear and hesitation I answered the call and Anabelle said Dad my class chose you to speak at Graduation this year.
My first reaction was Ah man, no! She said you don’t sound very excited you going to do it? I hesitated for two reasons the first being I knew I would obsess over this speech from that phone call till 15 seconds ago when I started. In fact I still wasn’t sure what I was going to say when I just walked out.
Also I know the parents of this graduation class and they are a very accomplished group;
There is a very successful bank President, orthodontist, orthopedic surgeon, Oral surgeon, MD’s, Lawyers, engineers, a Judge, a priest, successful business people and a real estate mogul and yet this class choose a nasally speaking guy with an Oklahoma accent who sells title insurance to speak, go figure.
Anyway I told Anabelle I would speak and realize I was the best choice to speak today based on 19 years with 3 kids at Greenwood I know a lot about the school and I know a lot about the success of the school and I know a lot about the success after they graduate from the school.
After 19 years they should either name a science wing after me or allow me to speak at graduation so here I am.
By the way 19 years 3 kids Dr. Clothio pointed out this adds up to 39 tuition checks to Greenwood which is math you just never want to do.
Most graduation speeches I’ve seen have started out with a quote. Last year the speaker quoted rap lyrics which I enjoyed and a couple of years ago someone quoted a famous philosopher which I didn’t understand so that tells you what kind of speaker I am.
I’m going to quote someone closer to home, that I admire and respect none the less which is my brother in law, Jack Hogan’s father Bud Hogan.
Bud told his boys and I think my kids as well not to peak at Greenwood! I knew exactly what he meant. Greenwood is like no other school around.
You’ve had the best teachers, the best faculty you’ve grown up on a college campus, some of you got to play varsity basketball without years of AAU basketball, Some of you got to play varsity soccer because Coach Shull needed the numbers ever though the last time you played was in kindergarten.
Some of you got to participate in a successful debate program without having a private debate coach and
Almost all of you participated in a state ranked band program year after year lead by Mr. Rue and I can go on and on.
Bud’s advice means Greenwood gave you a great experience so as you travel to the next level….take these wonderful memories with you….but don’t let this be your CROWNING ACHIEVEMENT.
Don’t peak at Greenwood, there’s so much more out there to experience you need to work hard on making the next step of your life as successful and full.
Your college experience is going to be one of the best experiences of your life. You’re going to have opportunities to study anything you can imagine. You’re going to have opportunities to meet new people from all over the world. You’re going to have opportunities to create a career path for yourself and your future.
A couple of thoughts to take to college with you;
First don’t forget or ignore the people you’re leaving behind. Weather your across town at Drury or across the country at Stanford this is very emotional for them and it is going to be a difficult adjustment.
So be nice the rest of the summer. Make your bed, clean your room, mow the lawn and do your dishes they deserve a good summer with you.
I think you understand and appreciate their world has revolved around you……so when you leave they need PHONE CALLS, TEXT AND VISITS, and need to still be there to give you advice. Keep them involved it will mean a lot.
Next…..and this is important…..you have to learn time management!
It’s the biggest challenge you face in college.
You’ll have 2-4 hours of class a day and you’ll falsely believe you have the rest of the day off and you don’t. It’s critical that you manage your free time to work on the many class projects and papers so they don’t’ happen at the last minute. Last minute work is C level work in college…..and Greenwood did not teach you to be C level students …… so find a good balance between a social life and school work.
Don’t be afraid to experience different classes or study programs. Get outside your box so to speak and try something different. Take classes you like and are interesting but remember to start building a plan for after college and when your career starts.
College will fly by just like these last 13 years of school.
when you go off to college don’t forget where you came from and the people you grew up with. Greenwood gave you a great chance to make some amazing friendships that will last long after everything else that happens in life. My Mother-in-Law Becky Hogan graduated from Greenwood some years back and to this day still gets together with her other Greenwood graduates every year.
Getting back to the first question about not Peaking at Greenwood and when does a person peak?
Well to be honest with you I don’t know. I feel every step I take I working towards something amazing and I really feel it is only getting better……..?
Maybe the answer to this question is not about any single event or period in our life but maybe it’s about the total body of work in our lifetime.
When I started out working on this speech I wanted to be inspired so I could inspire. You can go on-line and get any speech you want for graduation but if it didn’t mean anything to me it wouldn’t go well or mean anything to you.
So I want to close with a story……about a family friend who lives in California , who inspires me.
I was inspired by a statement on a shirt I saw in Bud’s office . Then I found out this came from a family friend who is also Bud’s best friend.
He grew up here in Springfield and was a very successful high school and college athlete. Graduated then started a business in Colorado which was successful. Came back to Spfd to be closer to his family married a beautiful girl from another country and was very successful at his work in Spfd. Had multiple cars, motorcycles, beautiful house, country club membership and lots of travel. He had everything on the surface. In fact he was so good looking when we were with him I was careful not to stand too close in case my wife saw us side by side. He appeared to have it all.
Then it all came crashing down. The economy turned, he had a death in the family, he divorced his wife and finally had a motorcycle accident that left him in the hospital and ultimately a medication addiction. His lowest point was Christmas day 2009 in rehab. His circumstances forced him to find a new path to travel. He said he made up his mind that day to never to again chase money instead of his dreams.
He had a dream where the search for happiness peace and adventure is the goal not the outcome. So he started his own mantra to do something epic every day.
Soon he started putting sticky notes all over reminding him to do something epic every day which then turned into tee shirts and which lead him into starting a website called Epiceveryday.com. He now sells shirts and such and gives wisdom and motivation through his site.
He has even started an Epic everyday adventure fund to fund one adventure a month through his website profits. This first epic everyday adventure will be awarded this June.
He is quick to remind everyone Epic everyday does not mean extreme and can mean different things to different people. Maybe Epic to you will be to get involved in a public service program or to befriend someone who is having trouble with the college transition or get involved in politics for the good of the country.
I love the word epic and I think this is a word each of you can take with you on your next challenge.
I think he is the classic example of someone who went off to college with goals and dreams just like you all have right now and turned those dreams into reality as financial success but found out life is so much more. Life is not about chasing money and a lifestyle but living life and according to him living life Epic everyday! My friend has a lot of respect for Greenwood and wishes you all success in your next step. He sent each of you an epic everyday graduation tee shirt to remember his Mantra by.
I hope his story inspires you like he has inspired me and my family
So take Bud’s advice and appreciate your experience at Greenwood but don’t look back and be prepared to achieve amazing/epic things in your next step.
Congratulations class of 2012 go do something epic!