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Area Graduates Are At The Beginning

Heartfelt congratulations to area high school and college graduates.

You have come to the end of an important chapter in your life.

But your life's story is only beginning. The real living is just getting started.

As Longwood University President Patrick Finnegan told the Class of 2011, “Just remember, an ending doesn't have to be sad-it's the only way to start something new. I suppose that's why we call this commencement instead of termination day.”

There will be many challenges ahead, and many opportunities.

Embrace both. Look all of them squarely in the eye.

You will fall. Nobody gets through life unbruised.

But falling and failing are too different things entirely. Accept the inevitability of falling but refuse entirely even the suggestion of failure.

Remember, too, that you can learn just as much from mistakes as you can from success, if you are wise enough to stop for a moment and contemplate their lessons.

A “masters degree” in life comes from walking through the doors that open and overcoming the obstacles that rise in your path.

Wisdom is a lifelong accumulation of experience.

Your path is uniquely your own.

But you are not alone.

-JKW-