For the past school year, this section has been reserved for my writings, ideas and thoughts for the seniors of 2002 in Kenai and Soldotna. I have been privileged to voice my opinions, experiences and -- hopefully -- helpful advice.
Today begins the series of district graduations with students walking across stage to receive their diplomas. On Thursday, my friends, peers and classmates at Kenai Central also will take part in that ceremony, as we each kiss our parents goodbye and take that faithful leap to independence.
So I would like to provide my words and insight on one last life lesson.
America has been called the strongest and greatest nation of our time. I take great pride dressing in red, white and blue and residing in this well-rounded, diverse culture. Sometimes I even stretch to say I am thankful for taxes.
With technology such as genetic and biomedical engineering and Macintosh's latest I-creation, the United States appears to host happy, healthy people.
But the American lifestyle also has become one of easy answers and instant gratification. Around every corner, a fast-food joint provides food of any style, preference or taste for that wheel of a deal meal on-the-go. If you break something at home, just run out and purchase a replacement.
If your computer takes longer than five seconds to run a program, a much more efficient product is sure to be on the market soon. There always will be a tool, invention or expansion to make day-to-day functioning more accommodating.
Constant, quick-fix resolutions customize to each and every conflict, discomfort or annoyance possible. Whenever the opportunity arises to escape reality's obstacles or slight hints of tough times, Americans can rapidly eliminate feelings of grief, sadness and hurt.
But this seemingly appealing manner of hastily eradicating distress does not quite fit the plan for us. Troubled times and contradiction build character and personality -- bettering human beings.
A pastor once preached that running from conflict forfeits maturity. We need those rough roads to help form husbands and wives and mothers and fathers. We need experience and unsheltered exposure opposed to unrealistic, "perfect" solutions.
As you head off into the large and unpredictable world following high school graduation, leave your childhood homeland and flee from the dependency nest, take with you memories, friendship, faith and an adventurous, giving heart. Re-member we all make mistakes. Fortunately, those slip-ups and challenging periods add to our development and growth.
Life isn't meant to be a bed of roses we each "someday" achieve. That day never waits for us to arrive and never passes when we expect it. That day is today. That day is the day we make it. That day is where we choose to find joy.
If I could provide one piece of wisdom to members of the Class of 2002 upon the finale of our high school careers, it would be this: Let us not forget to apply ourselves; let us remember to take life and all it throws at us as an opportunity to improve ourselves and our society and to strengthen those around us -- especially in the difficult times.
I wish the best of luck to my classmates and seniors on the Kenai Peninsula. The future is ours, and there is a world of possibilities waiting to be grasped. Conquer your goals, keep an open heart and mind and don't forget your small town values. God bless!
Shamra Bauder is a senior at Kenai Central High School who has worked as an intern at the Peninsula Clarion.
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