I Put On For My [County]
For those of you that do not know, I am from a very small town in North Carolina. So small that when people ask where I am from, I refer to the county instead. Well, as you can imagine, there are not many opportunities there and when I graduated high school I would always say, “I am not coming back”. As I got older and experienced more of life, I realized that there is something in Bertie.
Earlier this month I had the pleasure to deliver the commencement address to Bertie High School’s Class of 2017. It was amazing to see the graduates excited to complete this phase in their journey and move on to the next. It was also cool to be introduced by my old coach who has known me for 15 years and to look in the crowd to see people who literally known me all my life. It’s amazing how things come full circle.
I normally think of commencement speakers as someone who has years of experience (old)and some very wise words to share. So I stressed about coming up with the perfect message but then I had to think about “What did I need to hear at that age coming from Bertie County?”
So here are the cheat notes from the message:
- Perspective is everything People may not know where Bertie is and think nothing is there. That’s a lie. We have plenty to offer. It’s all in how you look at it. Now when I think about Bertie, I see foundation, I see family and friends, and most importantly, I see and feel a sense of peace. It’s home. Sometimes you have to step outside of yourself or your current position to view things in different perspective and find the beauty.
- Never stop learning. Just because you are graduating does not mean that you should stop learning. Even for those that do not go on to college. Many of my most valuable lessons came outside of the classroom. You must learn from experiences, people, and events. As I continue to learn on a daily basis, the more my perspective on life changes and I have a greater appreciation for the smaller things.
- Don’t be afraid to be you. You will always have someone to tell you what you should do, how to do it and when to do it. Learn your likes, dislikes, strengths and weakness. Gather information about how this contributes to your perspective of life and DO YOU! Figure out your wave and ride it. Whether your unique ripple touches one person or a billion people, only you can do it.
Congratulations Class of 2017!
Rwenshaun Miller, Bertie High Class of 2005