Forty five years ago a group of Gardner High School students walked across the stage in the high school gym. The year was 1972. There were just under 100 of us. We wore the blue robes and hats proudly. We were going to change the world. Right all the wrongs and save the environment.
That seems like such a long time ago, 45 years. We came into a world where our country was actively fighting a war that some did not approve of. Into a world where women had a handful of choices for jobs and earnings. We were between the hippies and the Age of Aquarius and the Bee Gees and Disco.
We had strong beliefs in what we needed to do for our country and our planet. We were going to stand up to “the man” and let Billy Jack show us the way.
Such a long time ago. Some in our class have children almost that age. At 18, 45 was ancient. Old people. Old people who weren’t cool or with it. They were out of the groove.
But we did our best and we protested and we voted and we spoke our thoughts and our minds.
Now I see the class of 2017. They don’t even have 45 years on their radar. I can’t imagine the changes in technology that will occur in the next few decades. I hope they will find ways to prevent or cure many types of cancer. I hope that wind and solar power will replace fossil fuels and make the world a cleaner place to live. I hope we don’t loose too many of the animals on our planet so the children of these graduates will still be able to enjoy wildlife outside of zoos.
I know the prevailing thought of many graduates is get out of this dump. No one of any importance ever came from here. But you are wrong. We may not have many rockstars, but we have authors and artists and lawyers. We have Dr’s working on cancer cures. We have a diversity of people in many fields. Be proud of them all.
So to the class of 1972, stop and remember what you felt holding that diploma in your hand. Remember no regrets, take only memories from here on out.
To the class of 2017. We give you the world. It is your job to care for it and keep it safe. We did our best. When the class of 2062 takes their turn, if there is a class of 2062, be able to say you gave them a good world.
Class of 1972: Seems like a lifetime ago