I would like to take this opportunity to thank the 2016 graduating class of the Avery County Schools for what you have meant to this school system and to our community.
I want to thank you for the marks of distinction you have made in academics, athletics, drama, art, music, and citizenship. I want to thank you for your commitment to getting the job done and to each other, and for being examples of excellence. When I hear people talking about the bleakness of the future of our country because of the generation that will be in charge, I get very upset. I am the first to say that I have no problem turning over the future to these young men and women, and I trust that they will make us very proud as they rise to the highest levels of success.
It has been said that it takes a wise man to dream big. Your wisdom is reflected in the size of the dreams you have realized. Now I encourage you to continue to dream big, to enlarge your vision. Remember that there is nothing in little dreams that will stir your soul.
I believe our school system has given you a foundation from which to launch these dreams. Your high school graduation marks the completion of this foundation. As you continue to build your life, success will be a natural by-product of your dreams. Be sure to dream not only with your head in the clouds, but with your feet firmly planted on the ground.
The person to count on most in achieving your dreams is yourself. Take what you have inside and allow that inner self to shape a vision for success and remember to share a part with your family and your community. It has been said “The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing that you will make one.”
As you continue on your road to success, I trust you will take the intensity and vision you have demonstrated in our school system and make this a better world. I challenge you to continue that which you have begun. I challenge you to hold fast to your goals and dreams. If you can dream and have high expectations, yet not mind working hard to achieve, if you can put your heart into obtaining the goals you seek, if you can take advice from those who love you, yet learn to make decisions for yourself and if you can delight in all the special things you are, you will truly succeed in life and leave this world better because you were here. Remember the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
While the diploma you will receive in the next few days will symbolize a high level of success and achievement, it should also provide you with the initiative to go even higher. Use your high school education as a stepping stone to reach your goals and aspirations.
It has been said that there are only two things which we can give our children – roots and wings. I know your families have given you strong roots, and I trust the Avery County Schools has given you wings – wings which will carry you as high as your imagination can fly.
Class of 2016, you have brought pride and honor to yourselves, your family, and your school system. On behalf of the Avery County Schools, I congratulate you and wish for you God’s best.
ACS Supt. David Burleson
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