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Graduation 2013

Friday, 14 June, 2013 - 11:59 am

Graduation 2013


Graduation Speech 2013

By: Dr. Megan Carlson 

Esteemed 8th Grade Graduates, your families, teachers and administrators,

We are gathered in this beautiful home to celebrate a milestone, an event, a movement from one stage to another in your very important and exciting lives. I want to start by telling each and every one of you how much you mean to me, to this school and to the community. You are all on a journey that will no doubt be great – because you have the makings of greatness and the instructions on how to use that potential to its fullest.

We have 5 core values at The Hebrew Academy – all of you should be able to rattle them off: respect, honesty, courtesy, kindness and GRATITUDE. Each value has so many facets to it that I could go on for hours just about one of these core values. However, I would like to send you off to our high school program with a bit of advice that your parents wish you would take from them, but will more likely take from a non-family member!

First and foremost – DISCIPLINE

-         Developing self-discipline is not easy. Most adults have a difficult time with this trait. To me, practicing this trait means setting goals, whether they be large or small – long-term or short-term – personal or team goals , writing those goals down, sharing them with others who will hold you accountable and sticking to accomplishing those goals.

-         Focusing on the discipline which you are studying – whether it be math, science, Judaics, humanities or fine arts – find out what teachers or professionals in those subjects do to be successful – and PRACTICE those behaviors. For example, if you are in science class – learn what scientists do. Use the scientific method to approach thinking: be curious, develop a hypothesis, research previous scholars’ work, develop your own experiment to test your hypothesis, reflect on your learning, and communicate your findings.

-         Discipline yourself to complete tasks in a timely manner and with purpose. Don’t just do your homework, chores or team activities; instead, undertake your ordinary tasks and make the experience extraordinary.


-         Believe it or not, your parents and teachers DO KNOW MORE THAN YOU. Be humble and take time to listen to your elders. I mean REALLY listen. Ask open-ended questions and stop to hear the answers. When I was your age, I thought way too much of myself. I figured my mother was naïve and could not know the challenges of being a teen. I mean, how could she, she was so OLD?  Little did I know all that she had been through, including working in the Marines during WWII as one who had to write the notifications of death to the family members of fallen soldiers.  Little did I know how she battled cancer when I was a youngster to survive against all odds. Little did I know how she traveled across the country in order to help her parents when her youngest sibling passed away suddenly.  Unfortunately, I found all this out after my mother passed away because I wasn’t humble enough to   take time to ask her questions and listen to her answers.

-         Humbly assume that others are also dealing with challenges; don’t assume that others succeed because life is easier for them. I understand - Your circumstances are not always rosey. You all have challenges. Some of you have family members who are sick, physically or mentally. Your empathy and patience with those family members will reflect back to you tenfold when you need the same treatment. Others have learning differences whereby learning doesn’t come so easily – your work toward learning how to learn will make studying in high school and college a breeze. Some of you feel that you have been outcast socially. Learning to be your own person now will only help you gain tons of friends in the future. A few of you are perfectionists to a point of stress. Learning NOW  to work efficiently, trust yourself and let go when it’s time to will make your scholarship in the future one of comfort rather than consternation.


-         Take time each day to be grateful to yourself for who you are, your Maker for what He has made you and given you and your family for loving you unconditionally.

-         Show your gratitude by appreciating each moment and focusing on immaterial things, like sunsets and smiles!

I am grateful for all your energy and scholarship. I look forward to watching you grow and mature. I can’t wait to see where you matriculate to college, seminary and the like – wherever you go, remember to be self-disciplined, humble and FULL of GRATITUDE… You are beautiful young ladies with a bright future ahead of you. 


 The 2013 Hebrew Academy 8th Grade Graduates 












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