Lancer Letter – Commencement Speech 2017

Submitted by Richard Scaletta, GM School District

This week I continue my tradition of publishing my commencement speech, this year delivered to the graduates of 2017 on June 8:
Theme: The Movies

Members of the board of education. High School Administration. Distinguished faculty. Parents, friends and relatives of the graduates. Class of 2017.
With all this talk about movies tonight, I am reminded of something I recently heard. Did you know that Clint Eastwood, the actor, is opening a preschool? Yes. It’s called the “Go Ahead, Make my Day Care Center.”

In addition to providing material for bad jokes, as you’ve heard your classmates explain, quality cinema addresses timeless themes and offers us timeless truths. But rather than draw from the current and prolific body of film tonight, I’d like to discuss a movie that is still under production, a movie not yet complete. I’d like you to think about your life as a movie – and you are the star!

Creating a movie has three stages: pre-production, principal photography and post-production. Your years at General McLane have focused on the pre-production phase of the movie of your life. In the pre-production phase, the basis for the movie is determined. Hollywood movies begin with an idea or story that comes from a book, an incident in history, a real life story or the imagination of a creative individual. As you have gone through General McLane and lived your early developmental years with your family, I hope that you have had time and opportunity to determine your “content,” who you are and what makes you uniquely you – that is the basis for the movie of your life. I hope that the sound learning foundation given you by your elementary and middle school teachers has allowed you to avail yourself to the many academic and extra-curricular activities offered at GM high school. I hope you’ve developed the moral and ethical values to guide your life. In short, I hope you’ve taken advantage of the McLane Advantage.

In the pre-production phase of a movie, a script is written. At this point, most of you have a script for your life, at least for the next few years. For many of you, your script is to continue in the pre-production phase as you further your education or training or begin to play out the scenes of your life as soon as tomorrow. Whatever your script is, I can tell you that unlike a movie, the movie of your life will not always follow the script you have in mind. Some of those variations from the script will be good, and some will not. As we heard earlier, “the world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows” and you will have to climb mountains and persevere with hard work to deal with the negative variations in your life’s script.

At some point, you will enter the second phase of production in the movie of your life. You let go of your life as a child, take risks and choose your own path. Those scenes will play out quickly and go by in a blur as you advance your career, start a family and hopefully become an engaged member of your community. This second phase is the focus of your film. At some point as you approach the final phase of the movie of your life, you will be able to review the scenes you liked and the scenes you did not like. Unlike the video editor, you will not be able to cut the uncomfortable or painful scenes, for in real life, unlike the cinema, we must carry the unpleasant scenes of our life with us and if we are smart and courageous, they will make us stronger. If you persevere and always have hope, you will prosper.

Will your life’s movie be a drama? Will it be a comedy? Will it be a tragedy or a farce? Will it be a fairy tale or will the movie of your life be one that inspires many people?
Someday, your family will be grown and you will be retired. At that point, you will often review the movie known as your life, and when you do, I hope you will see scenes of a successful career, a family and home filled with love, and most importantly, a life that has made a difference for others. I hope there will have been many scenes of laughter, limited drama and tragedy, frequent scenes of beauty and many people who love and support you.

And now it is time to play out your final scene of high school life.

So, Class of 2017:

Places everyone – quiet on the set!

and, ACTION!

The Lancer Letter is a weekly editorial by Richard Scaletta, Superintendent of Schools, General McLane School District. Opinions expressed are Mr. Scaletta’s views on the issues and subjects of discussion, and not necessarily those of or our sponsors.

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