Dear Members of our Graduating Class 2021,
This is a great and wonderful day, one that you have been preparing for over an extended period. Today, with your parents, your family, and friends, you can celebrate and rejoice in a great accomplishment in your life. Today, May 19, 2021 you will walk across the stage and receive your High School Diploma from Saint Augustine High School. While this journey across the stage will be relatively short in nature, it is also a journey which will open the doors to your future and another journey in life.
As you begin this next journey in your life pilgrimage, I wish to remind you of the words and challenge that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King presented to a group of students in Philadelphia on October 26, 1967. He asked them a simple question, one that he is also asking you, “What is your Life’s Blueprint” In this speech he suggested several elements that are necessary for your life’s blueprint. These elements are still important for you today, as you move on to the next phase of your life.
The first element according to Dr. King, is a deep belief in your own dignity and worth. In short, believe in yourself, regardless of what others have to say. You are somebody, you are somebody of value and worth, simply because God created you in His own image and likeness.
Secondly, Dr. King admonishes you to maintain a basic principle of determination, to achieve, and to achieve with excellence in what ever field your endeavor. A lesson that is exemplified in every aspect of being a Purple Knight. Throughout history Purple Knights have overcome obstacles and continued to achieve the greatness that is within them. Why? Determination and the belief that with God’s grace, a Purple Knight we can dream his dreams and achieve them as well.
Today, a new door in your life journey is opening. Remember all the good times you have enjoyed at Saint Augustine High School, and the many lessons that you have learned in your various studies. However, always remember the one most important lesson that Saint Augustine High School has tried to instill within you, Be a Proud and Strong African American Man, who can achieve all the greatness that God has placed within you.
As Rev. Dr. King stated, “And when you discover what you will be in your life, set out to do it as if God Almighty called you at this particular moment in history to do it. Don’t just set out to do a good job. Set out to do such a good job that the living, the dead or the unborn couldn’t do it any better…Be a bush if you can’t be a tree. If you can’t be a highway, just be a trail. If you can’t be a sun, be a star. For it isn’t by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are.”
As you go forth, just remember you are filled with God’s grace, go forth and achieve the greatness that God has planted within you. Just be your very best, and God’s grace and love will show you the way.
Saint Augustine and Saint Joseph, Pray for us!
Yours in St. Joseph,
Fr. Peter Weiss, S.S.J.
Chief Religious Officer