- East St. Louis School District 189
Message to Graduates - May 2018
To the Class of 2018:
I am honored to have been your Superintendent and I wish you the best in your future endeavors. I stand proud as I reflect on the Class of 2018’s accomplishments. Your hard work, along with your school, your family and your community, have shaped you to be prepared for a specific purpose.
While we celebrate the milestone of your high school graduation, I encourage you to remember this is not the end. This is the beginning of a critical chapter in the story of your life.
Your zip code, your parents, your race, culture and experiences have molded and prepared you for greatness. They have equipped you with the knowledge and skills you need to face your future challenges. Nothing is by coincidence – it is all part of a plan. You were born to win, engineered for success and endowed with the seeds of greatness. To be the winner you were born to be, you must plan to win, prepare to win and expect to win.
Your destiny is calling. Often your opportunities will be disguised as problems. When you are faced with a challenge, do you see it as an opportunity or a problem? Winners see problems as an opportunity to reveal their greatness. How you confront obstacles will dictate how your story will end. Beware of the dream killers: feelings of anger, fear, anxiety, hate, insecurity, jealousy, self-pity, lack of effort, low self-esteem and lack of planning. Control your mind and you control your destiny.
As you embark upon your journey, it may become necessary to narrow your circle of friends because association breeds assimilation. People you associate with will influence you positively or negatively. They will have an impact on the decisions you make. You must develop the art of separation and the gift of goodbye to keep negative people from stealing your dreams.
Your past, whether it is positive or negative, can short-circuit your future if you focus on it too much. Your past is important because it has brought you to where you are. But as important as your past is, it is not nearly as important as how you see your future. The way you see your future determines your thinking today; your thinking today determines your performance today; your performance today determines your future. Don’t make excuses, because excuses never change existing conditions. Someone else can win with the cards you have been dealt.
You were born for a specific purpose. Your task is to discover it so that you can create a clear vision for your life. A clear vision is necessary so that you have a strong direction and live a focused life.
While ability, knowledge and skills will get you to the top, high morals, strong character and integrity are needed to keep you there. Life will continue to present obstacles, but you control how you respond to these obstacles. All of us will be faced with disappointment, defeat, frustration and setbacks; they are part of life’s journey. You can control how you respond to these situations. Winners see them as stepping stones, not stopping stones, detours versus dead-end streets, teachers instead of undertakers, and as temporary challenges, not final outcomes. Remember, you cannot consistently perform in a manner that is inconsistent with the way you view yourself. Your best is yet to come.
Congratulations to the Class of 2018,
Arthur R. Culver, Superintendent