What Sets Us Apart
by Dr. Tim Howard
REMARKS AT 12th GRADE GRADUATION
A special event like the one we are celebrating this evening would not be possible without the efforts of many people. A huge thank you to the faculty, staff, and administrators who worked with tireless energy and boundless creativity to make this evening happen and to organize the myriad details behind the scenes. Thanks to you, the PAC looks gorgeous and this ceremony is worthy of our honored guests and students.
I am grateful for the presence of many of the founders, builders, and Board members of this school. Thank you for your vision, generosity, and commitment to making this school a place of beauty and joy and community, a beacon of excellence and culture and opportunity.
Graduates, I ask you to look out at your parents and friends who have given their love, support, and constant belief in you and your abilities over the years. You would not be here without them. A round of applause for them, please!
Parents, we appreciate all the ways you support our students and our school, whether through the Home and School Association, grade-level events, tournaments, competitions and fund-raisers.
Thanks to you, this year TASIS Dorado experienced the largest outpouring of financial gifts ever to support our Financial Aid and Scholarship Program and construction of this Performing Arts Center. Your generosity has been amazing-- Thank you so much!
Teachers, counselors and coaches are the heart of a school. I am grateful to the faculty of TASIS Dorado for their dedication and commitment to excellence day in and day out in nurturing and challenging our students. You expand minds, kindle sparks into flames, and broaden horizons. As you model integrity, curiosity, and intellectual discipline, you shape a generation. Well done!
Class of 2016, congratulations on reaching this important step in your education. Although you are small in number, your achievements have been gigantic. The colleges and universities to which you have been accepted would make any school proud and you have brought honor on yourselves, your families, and your teachers.
In addition to the best colleges in Puerto Rico, you have gained admission to all eight Ivy League colleges, as well as such top-tier schools as Stanford, Duke, Georgetown, MIT, CalTech, Washington University, Northeastern, Boston University, the University of Chicago—and more than 80 other colleges—102 universities in all. That is a phenomenal achievement!
At the same time, may I remind you that college is not your final destination? It is part of the journey you are on. Mark Twain wrote that the two most important days of his life were the day he was born—and the day he figured out why. Don't be discouraged if that purpose is not immediately clear. You won't find it in comparing yourself to others or in listening to the constant barrage of messages in our society to consume more and live only to satisfy yourself.
Instead, dare to dream big, to be a change agent, to find creative solutions to the world's problems, to find balance, to love life deeply. Consult with your closest friends and mentors. Take time to be in touch with your soul and your deepest values. The Apostle James wrote in the first chapter of his letter, "If you don't know what you're doing, pray. God loves to help. You'll get his help, and won't be scolded when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought." (James 1:5-6, The Message)
As you commence this adventure, we truly hope you'll stay in touch with us. We look forward to receiving that first photo of you in your dorm room with your TASIS Dorado pennant! We can't wait to hear about all the things you're learning in your studies and discovering about yourself.
And so, in closing, I'd like to say a traditional Irish blessing over you all on the occasion of your graduation.
May the road rise up to meet.
May the wind always be at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
And rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.