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Congratulations Class of 2018

Congratulations Class of 2018

Congratulations to all the graduates of the Class of 2018! Our area is blessed to have so many talented young people; I am amazed by what they accomplish in today’s world. Whether it is academically, musically or athletically there’s more being achieved than ever before. Take a moment to congratulate those special people in your life that are donning the cap and gown. They truly are our country’s future.

Tip of the graduation cap to my son Hunter and all his classmates at Loyalsock. Wow, did time go by in the blink of an eye. It’s been my pleasure to watch you all grow up. I’m so fortunate that I got to coach so many young people over the years. They made for one big extended family that’ll keep on growing.

My apologies to my sons Hunter and Jimmy if I was a little tough on you during our time together on the diamond, gridiron, or basketball court. For whatever reason, fathers that coach always seem to be a little tougher on their own sons. This was passed down to me from my Father. Most of you that coach, and are reading this, completely understand. I only wanted the best for all my players, including my sons.

A bit of advice for all coaches — that is also good for the parents in the stands — it’s a game, and it’s got to be about fun and playing for the love of the game. This holds true no matter if you’re coaching at the high school level or the grade school level. Most importantly, treat all players as equals — even your own kids. Because before you know it, those days will be gone and it needs to be about that big extended family you built. It has nothing to do with wins and losses and everything to do with raising ladies and gentlemen that are ready for today’s world.

Well, like I often do, I got off the beaten path — graduation and some thoughts on this topic. First and foremost, for all graduates — let’s be careful out there. Do not allow a night of celebration, or in some cases maybe a few days, rob you of your future. No matter if you’re graduating from college or high school if you perhaps celebrated a little too much, reach out to your parents, a friend or in the case of young people today, Uber. And yes, I know high school graduates should not be drinking, but we’ve got to live in the real world.

What do you get a high school graduate in today’s world? Think about how the world has changed since you graduated. When I left the halls of Loyalsock like Hunter, technology was the new Walkman, and computers were the size of a Yugo — please Google it if you’re too young to remember.
Back to the idea of a gift, cash is still king. Obviously, parents may know of something special to get their child, that’s a little bit different. But in almost all cases keep it simple and go with the green.

Another often asked graduation question, how many do you invite to the ceremony? That’s an easy answer if it’s held outside at the school’s stadium, invite as many as you want. This becomes a much more difficult problem if there’s inclement weather and the event is forced indoors. Often only a couple folks can attend besides the parents, and obviously, it must include grandparents. Try not to put any added stress on your graduate, but allow them to decide, after all, it’s a celebration of their achievement.

If you have a son or daughter that’s graduating, you often get invited to more graduation parties than you can shake a stick at. How do you juggle this and should you feel obligated to attend every party? Absolutely not. Attend the parties that you can make. If you cannot make the party, a graduation card, congratulatory wish, and that cash or check we talked about earlier is completely sufficient. Do, however, remember, this is a once-in-a-lifetime event for all involved, and if you are invited it’s because you’ve probably been significant in this person’s life, so by all means you want to attend as many as you can.

I think it’s important to understand graduation isn’t the finish line; it’s the beginning of the next chapter of an individual’s life. Their next step in their personal journey should be celebrated and supported — hopefully, they have decided what their next steps are. If not, a little encouragement never hurts. But please don’t take away the happiness of their graduation.

What a difficult time to be stepping out into the world. What a difficult time to be a student in the world of today. Young people are faced with more challenges than I could have ever imagined when I was their age. They are truly remarkable in how they handle all that is spinning around them. The most important thing we can do is hug them, love them, and support them. They will be all right.

It upsets me when I hear folks complaining about the young men and women of today. It always ends with what’s our future going to be when they are empowered? My bet is they do a heck of a lot better job than past generations, provided they are left with something to work with. I’m going to stay away from politics today, however, back to the cash thing that every graduate wants, think of the bill they are getting in the form of our national debt. That is some way to help our future generations.

God Bless America.

Jim Webb

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