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‘Go after your dreams’

Middlesex High School principal Susan Fleet snaps a final photo with Class of 2018 vice president Jordan Blake, Carlos Marshall and class president Chloe Hodges. See video at  (Photo by Tom Chillemi)

by Tom Chillemi

During the 69th Middlesex High School graduation ceremony, principal Susan Fleet had one last quiz for the 98 graduation candidates. She asked them to name the five wealthiest people in the world; the last five Heisman trophy winners; the last five winners of the Miss America contest; the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor or actress; and the last 10 World Series winners.

“How did you do?” she asked. “The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. The applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.”

Fleet had another quiz. “List a few teachers who aided your journey through school. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.”
The lesson, said Fleet, “The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones who care.”

In a few minutes Fleet gave students something to think about. “When you think about the people who care and the people you should thank today, start by looking at yourselves. Your hard work and dedication helped get you here, but you didn’t do it all by yourselves. 

“Look beside you, your classmates have helped you at one time or another during your many years in Middlesex County Public Schools. Take a good look at your friends today; this will be the last time you are all together as a class. At your 10, 20, or 30 year reunions, someone will be missing. Enjoy your last day with all of you safely under one roof, together, as the class of 2018. 

“Now look behind you, your teachers deserve your thanks today. These men and women set high expectations for you over the last four years. At some points along the way, you wondered why they were so hard on you. I know this because many of you have shared your feelings with me!” Fleet continued. 

“I will tell you now what I have told you all along. They have been tough on you because they all wanted you to be successful when you graduate. It’s our job to help get you ready for the real world. We have given you our best and we know that you are ready for life outside of Middlesex High School.

“And finally, thank your families who are here today to celebrate with you. They gave you life and have shared in the sorrows and joys you have experienced over your life. Without them, you would not be here today; and you still need them no matter how grown up you think you are! I’m so very proud of all of you and will never forget the class of 2018!” concluded Fleet.

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 06.13.2018

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