Seven students celebrated their graduation on December 19th, 2014. The ceremony was planned for six, but Adam Brown passed the notorious math test the day before graduation. He credited his YouthBuild instructor,
“Without Mark Altmar, I would never have passed that test. Thank you, Mark!”
“You have completed high school. Congratulations! You are educated, and your certificate is your degree. You may think of it as the ticket to the good life. Let me ask you to think of an alternative. I want you to think of it as your ticket to change the world.
Continue to learn. Your mind will continue to develop as long as you continue to flex it. Challenge yourself to learn something every day. That can be as easy as reading a news article or it can be as difficult as advanced engineering calculus. Your brain will rise to any challenge if you apply yourself. Never surrender. Never give up.
Continue to protect and serve your community. When you entered this program, many of you thought of yourselves as outsiders – not a part of your neighborhood. By serving at St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Center, Habitat for Humanity, and Tom’s Turkey Drive you have changed people’s lives for the better. If the recipients of your service were here now, they would be singing your praises. Your actions show that you are a part of this community. I challenge you to increase your membership by learning about issues and voting, and by continuing to take service and make it part of your life. You have earned the right to be citizens of this community through your care and service.
Finally, I ask that you be good to you. They say that charity begins at home, and that’s what I want for you. Live healthy lives. Obtain and keep a job where you will earn a living wage. Pay yourselves first by building that nest egg, by starting and contributing to a retirement account. Buy a home, prioritize your family– make your lives full.”