Thursday, May 19, 2011
Take risks; be great
It’s graduation season.
Monday night, one of Holly Springs’ own, Elise Jordan, delivered an outstanding commencement address to the Class of 2011 at Marshall Academy.
Jordan, a 2000 graduate of MA and 2004 graduate of Yale University, is a writer and commentator who travels frequently to Afghanistan and Iraq. During the Bush administration, she worked in the White House Office of Presidential Speechwriting and at the State Department as speechwriter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. In 2007, she joined the National Security Council, where she focused on strategic communications in Afghanistan and Iraq.
She is a 2011 Phillips Foundation fellow and a recipient of the Robert Novak journalism fellowship.
“Find something you love to do,” she said. “Your work will fill most of your life – so love it.”
Jordan stressed the importance of education. She said hers started at MA and went to Yale, to the White House and to places like Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.
She told the high school graduates – “No great achievement comes without great risk. If you’re scared, that probably means you’re doing something right.”
She closed with these words – “Stay safe. Be great. Never give up.”
She worked the commencement address into a busy week. She will be getting married this Saturday.
She is the daughter of Kelly and Susan Jordan of Holly Springs.
The evening was filled with other important words.
Sarah Poteet, valedictorian of the Class of 2011, told her classmates that their memories will never be taken away.
“Someone once said, ‘A journey is best measured in friends rather than miles,’” she said.
“Our group has the potential to make a huge difference.”
Mike Drewery, a teacher at MA and one of the senior class sponsors, had some closing remarks to the Class of 2011.
He opened by talking about his goals after his high school graduation for the next five years, 10 years and 15 years.
“Nothing happened in the time frame I wanted it to happen,” Drewery said.
“Life doesn’t ask permission. It just happens. Sometimes it happens like you think, but more times than not, it doesn’t.
“Life is not a straight road. It has many unexpected hills, valleys and curves. Learn to adapt. Life doesn’t adapt to you.”
Referring to the book of James, he said life is short.
“The challenge is to live in the present,” he said. “Live in the moment.”
After attending the MA graduation Monday night, I went home and opened a couple of old yearbooks from my high school days more than 30 years ago. I even wiped the dust off my high school diploma. Then I paused and remembered my friends and good times.
More graduations follow this weekend in Marshall County – H.W. Byers, Friday, 6 p.m., in the school gym; Friendship Christian Academy, Friday, 6:30 p.m., at Friendship Assembly of God in Victoria; Holly Springs High School, Friday, 7 p.m., at Rust College; Potts Camp, Saturday, 10 a.m., in the gym; Byhalia, Saturday, 2 p.m., at Rust College.
Best wishes, graduates.
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