BY KURT STEINHAUS
Los Alamos Public Schools
Congratulations to each and every member of the class of 2021. I am proud of all 251 of you and how far you’ve come. And I have faith in how far you can go after high school. The many celebration activities for you this month are not the end, they are the beginning of a special time in your life – those months and years right after high school graduation. This is a unique time where you may have more flexibility than in any other time in your life (especially after this past year); so enjoy this new-found freedom.
I hope you appreciated the unique Prom 2021, your Senior yard sign, the Senior Send-off, the “Kiss A Senior Goodbye,” Senior visit-day at LAPS elementary schools, Senior Sunset, Topper Cruz and the completely re-designed graduation ceremony at Sullivan Field. With all these activities, it might be easy to forget to pause and treasure your individual successes and that brand new diploma with your name at the top.
Everyone is proud of you–especially your family, teachers, mentors, and me. You have earned a high school diploma and nobody can take it away. Over the coming years, you will realize that this is a huge milestone in life — one of many to come.
There are numerous qualities that make your class special. In asking teachers and Principals to describe the class of 2021, most say “resilient.” Elena Aguilar defines resilient as the ability to encounter adversity and bounce back stronger than ever. This trait will serve you well throughout your life. Perhaps Mr. Rogers said it best: “There is no normal life that is free of pain. It’s the very wrestling with our problems that can be the impetus for our growth.”
Others use these words when talking about the LAHS Class of 2021: resourceful, adaptable, tenacious, unsinkable (Mr. Payne) patient (Ms. Dunwoody), strong (Ms. Gonzales), optimistic, powerful, determined, kind, boundless creativity, and fantastically energetic. What an amazing group of people – this LAHS class of 2021.
You now carry a new responsibility – representing Los Alamos High School with all of its wonderful green and gold traditions. It is truly an honor to graduate from one of the nation’s top high schools.
During your high school years, you hopefully have grown,step by step, more independent from your parents. Your friends and activities may have taken up a larger share of your life as your parents are learning how to let go. (By the way, your parents and family members are likely giving themselves an internal high-five and saying, “Yes! We did it!”)
Gratitude, resilience, attentiveness and determination will outpace talent any day of the week and I know you will find your way in this world, of that I have no doubt. It is your life now. Your champions and I in the Los Alamos Public Schools will continue to be here to support and offer guidance, when requested.
I want you to remember, however, as you journey out into the world that this path, whatever path you choose, is life. Work hard, enjoy every day, laugh often, embrace a goal, play, and make the most of every moment. “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” —C.S. Lewis
Over the next few weeks, I encourage you to take time to personally thank the people who helped you navigate through school and make it to graduation. Appreciation creates a benevolent world.
Now, get out there and embrace the next stage. Seize the opportunity to live a wonderful life. As Dr. Seuss said: “Kid, you’ll move mountains.”
My best to you, Topper Graduates!