Here is a copy of First Selectman Timothy Herbst’s speech which he gave at Trumbull High School’s graduation Tuesday evening.
Chairman Wright, members of the Board of Education, Superintendent Iassogna, Dr. Cialfi, Dr. Tremaglio, distinguished faculty, parents, family, friends and graduates of the Class of 2012. Congratulations.
As First Selectman of the Town of Trumbull, at this time I would like to recognize those young men and women who will be entering the armed services upon graduation. I ask that you please stand and remain standing to be recognized:
- Gary Andrews, Marines
- Christopher Bonazzo, National Guard
- Joshua Calderon, Navy
- Patrick Lomnitzer, Marines
- Michael McAndrews, ROTC Air Force
- Oscar Montijo, Marines
- Giovanni Rosario, Air Force
- Tyler Ruderman, Marines
- Grant Roman, Marines
- Kathleen LaBoa, Navy ROTC
- Alice Simmel, Navy
- Haley Sengalliesi, Air Force
On behalf of a grateful nation, a grateful state and a grateful Town I thank you for your service to this great nation and I wish you Godspeed.
Graduates, today marks an important milestone in your life and I congratulate you on all of the hard work that has gotten you to this point. I also congratulate your families for supporting you along the way.
This afternoon as one chapter closes, another chapter will begin. Today, you embark upon a journey where the destination may seem uncertain, but the road to get there lies exclusively within your control.
As you graduate today, you enter the world at a time of tremendous challenge for our nation and the world. Our economy remains hindered by stagnation and our country remains engaged in a global conflict to rid the world of terrorism. This year, many of you will vote for the first time and cast a ballot in one of the most historic and important elections in our history.
The question of the day for many of you is whether tomorrow will be brighter than today.
Here at Trumbull High School, you have been provided a strong academic foundation which supports communication, innovation, critical thinking, collaboration and community service. Graduates, if there was ever a time in our long history when these values matter more than ever, it is now.
The global and domestic challenges we face as a civilized people are about more than our economy or our currency. It is larger than any global conflict. It is transcends any competing political philosophy and indeed it is about more than the materialism that has become so pervasive in our society for far too long.
Whether tomorrow will be brighter than today rests upon the fundamental question of whether we will overcome the moral deficit of entitlement. Graduates, you will be called upon to cure this moral deficit of entitlement through your hard work and determination, through compassion for others, through service to your country and your community and through making the most of life’s journey.
A haberdasher who would later become our 33rd President, Harry Truman, said it best: “Work Hard–Do your best–Keep your word–Never get too big for your britches–Trust in God–Have no fear–and never forget a friend.”
The moral deficit of entitlement has created a society where we expect more and produce less. This has caused us to lose sight of the real values of life. Graduates, hard work and determination are the essential building blocks in making us successful and hard work is the best medicine to cure the moral deficit of entitlement.
Through this hard work, you will achieve success. When you achieve success, people will acknowledge it for the time being. However, if you are a good person who treats others with respect and compassion, regardless of their station in life, it will be remembered for a lifetime.
Remember graduates that success is not about stock options or the type of car you drive. Success is measured by how you lead your life, how you leave your mark and whether the world will be better off for you having been here.
There have been countless graduates of the school of hard knocks and there are plenty more to follow. Never be afraid to take a risk. While we live in a risk avoidant society, no one truly achieves success without taking a risk. Imagine where the world would be today if Bill Gates and Steve Jobs never took a risk. I wouldn’t be standing here today as the First Selectman had I not taken a risk in 2009.
Some risks might produce success and some risks might come with mistakes or even failure. Graduates, never be afraid to make a mistake and never be afraid to fail. Some of the greatest teachings I have received have not been in a classroom or in a textbook. Some of my greatest lessons have been through a mistake or a failure. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake – - embrace them, learn from them and become better as a result of them.
In this age of technology, never let a computer, an I-Phone, a Tweet or a Facebook update replace a face to face conversation or a handshake. The two most precious treasures you have been given in this life are your name and your reputation. Those two treasures are far too important to be compromised.
The power to change ourselves, the community, indeed the world, is in our hands.
Graduates, it is in your hands . . . and you can, and you will.
The path you will take in this long journey will have its share of bumps, twists, turns and even roadblocks. But despite the challenges you will encounter along the way, you will be a stronger person and you will see happiness along the journey and light at the end of the tunnel.
Sixty-years from now you will look back on this moment in your life and realize that you answered the call to meet the challenges of the 21st century and because of your efforts, the world will be a better place. And at the end of the day you will be able to say that it was worth the sacrifice because tomorrow was brighter than today.
Graduates, as you go forward today I end with a traditional Irish blessing:
“May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.”
May God bless you all and congratulations.