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Archive > Nora’s 2018 Commencement Address

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message 1: by Jonetta (new)

Jonetta (ejaygirl) | 6131 comments Mod
Nora Roberts graduated from Montgomery Blair High School in 1968. This Tuesday, she returned to her old high school to give a moving commencement address to the Class of 2018. Read the full speech on finding your passion below. Your possibilities are unlimited!

Congratulations, graduates. You survived high school, and today you'll get the paper to prove it.

(Source: St. Martin’s Press)

So now what? I hope the first thing on your list is party, because you've earned it. It took you twelve years—about two-thirds of your life—to get to this moment, so savor it and celebrate it, do your happy dance. This chapter of your life is written and in the books. When you go back to turn those pages and revisit these years—and you will—I hope you remember more than the work, the study, the times you screwed up. Remember the fun and the friendships, the football games and the dances, because all of it lays the foundation for the next chapter.

Some of you will go on to college or trade school, or into the workforce. It's a brave new world you're about to step into. So be bold, be passionate, be present. You may choose a path, start down it and realize it's the wrong direction. So what? Choose another. Your choices, your potential, your possibilities are unlimited. People will tell you you have your whole life ahead of you—because it's true. And no one can limit the potential of that life but you. If you don't try, you've already failed. So try, and if it doesn't fit, try something else.

Find your passion. It's out there. Explore those possibilities, risk that failure, invest your time, your efforts, your brains and your spirits into what excites you, and the world opens for you.

The torch is passing here. It's you we look to now to tend, to create, to discover, to teach, to build. What will you become?

Anything, absolutely anything you want passionately enough to work toward, to sweat for, to embrace with everything you have. And if someone tells you—you can't be that, you can't reach for that? Don't listen. Follow your own light.

A million years ago I sat where you're sitting, on this same campus, in cap and gown, A Montgomery Blair graduate. I didn't know what I wanted to do, except get married and have babies. As I said, a million years ago. I worked as a legal secretary for a while, and earned the distinction of being the worst legal secretary in history. Mostly because I hated office work.

I had my babies and did a much better job there—because I loved it, and them. I followed my light, became a mom, and my sons remain my greatest accomplishment, my deepest joy.

Still, I wanted something . . . something more.

About ten years after I sat here, as you are today, I discovered my passion for writing. It didn't come out of nowhere, had been building, a quick spark, a flicker of light. A what if.

But I'd been so busy raising kids and doing what I thought I was supposed to do, I didn't risk it, never quite talked myself into taking that step forward. Then one day I did, and the world opened for me. There were bumps and disappointments, sure, but writing, telling stories, lit a fire in me.

There's a fire in all of you. Keep it burning, and use its light to move forward and reach for the new and the never done. You're more than the hopes and dreams of your parents. You're the hopes and dreams of the future.

In this room, in cap and gown, there are scientists and artists, teachers and inventors, writers and doctors, soldiers and chefs, engineers and architects and athletes and so much more. What you are, is amazing. What you'll be is more amazing yet.

Take what you are and step forward. Don't look back, regretting what you didn't do, didn't try, didn't reach for. Celebrate the effort of doing, trying, reaching. And as you do, thank your parents, your grandparents, your teachers, your coaches. You wouldn't be here today wearing cap and gown without them.

Cherish this moment, this shining space between what was and what's to come. Celebrate you day, party with family, with friends, because tomorrow is yours.

Congratulations, Montgomery Blair High School Class of 2018. We can't wait to see what you'll do.


message 2: by Anita (new)

Anita (anitanodiva) | 1289 comments Wonderful address for high school kids and, really, everyone. I attended a Community College graduation yesterday and was really impressed by the retired 2-Star General who gave the address.


message 3: by Jonetta (new)

Jonetta (ejaygirl) | 6131 comments Mod
It is classic Nora.


message 4: by Talya (new)

Talya | 749 comments Mod
This is so awesome. I'm a 1998 Blair alum, and I'm deciding if I'm going to the 20 year reunion in August.


message 6: by Jonetta (new)

Jonetta (ejaygirl) | 6131 comments Mod
Talya wrote: "This is so awesome. I'm a 1998 Blair alum, and I'm deciding if I'm going to the 20 year reunion in August."

How interesting, Talya!


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