Collective Wisdom for the Class of 2015

05/26/2015 06:04 pm ET | Updated May 26, 2016

This spring, members of the Communities In Schools family -- staff, board, volunteers, supporters and even Elmo -- shared their best #CISGradAdvice with our graduates. The students who work with CIS have overcome incredible barriers to reach this critical milestone, so it's with great pride that we share our community-written graduation speech with then and all members of the Class of 2015, in commemoration of this very special occasion.

Dear Class of 2015:

We are the community of Communities In Schools. We live all across the country, we are young and not-so-young, we are teachers, business leaders, parents, grandparents, friends, and, most of all, we are proud of you. On the occasion of your graduation from high school, we would like to share some of the lessons we've learned from life with you.

Congratulations! You have accomplished something great: you set a goal and you stuck with it. Continue to aim high. School may end but learning is lifelong. Be brave with your life. Keep working to fulfill your dreams -- even if it is your life's work.

It's ok not to know what you want to be "when you grow up." Everyone has a talent and once you discover it, use it to the best of your ability. Take advantage of any opportunities you have for internships or externships. Find a mentor in the field you wish to pursue. Ask lots of questions as you plan your future.

Do NOT procrastinate! Seriously. Don't do it.

Life is full of highs and lows -- always do your best, then strive to make your best even better. You may make mistakes. Don't be afraid to fail, but know the difference between running toward what you want and away from what you don't want. Learn from the past, plan for the future, live in the present.

Brush and floss. Read the Constitution. Register to vote. Travel abroad and learn a second (or third) language. Nada que vale la pena, es facil.

Be a good teammate. Stand up to bullies, especially those bullying others.

Read a lot. Reading a good newspaper, novel or other piece of prose or fiction will not just improve your skills, it will empower you and make you a better citizen. Reading gets you knowledge. Knowledge gets you power. There's no such thing as knowing too much.

Make friends with people from different generations. Call your mother.

Appreciate the beauty of sunrises and sunsets and everything in between. Take advantage of the opportunities to hear speakers, go to concerts, see performances.

Remind yourself once a day that you have purpose and worth. Remind yourself twice a day that everyone else does, too.

At times you might ask "why me?" but why NOT you? Don't ever let someone tell you that you are not good enough. You just graduated high school, which proves that you CAN accomplish your goals.

You have a lifetime of choices in front of you. Relish your individuality and create a life where you can look in the mirror each morning and like the person who is staring back at you. Be someone your younger self would look up to. And as a reminder of what your younger self might have said, we leave you with the words of a fourth grader:

Everybody makes mistakes. I have felt like I failed before. I [remind] myself to study and believe in myself. If you don't get something, ask questions. Take deep breaths. Think good things.

Class of 2015 -- we think you will do good things. Keep making us proud!


Your Communities In Schools Family

To read the full version of the 2015 #CISGradAdvice speech, please visit the Communities In Schools blog .