Editorial: a message to the grads of 2013

Marc Lalonde
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You're done with school? Great! Now get to work!

Marc Lalonde's message to 2013 high-school graduates is to try, fail -- and try again. It's the only way to live.

I have had the great pleasure to attend a number of high-school graduation ceremonies recently, and I highly recommend that anyone interested in the future of our community do the same.

Teenagers today are uniformly lumped together in many, many media as over-texting, frivolous, tech-obsessed short-sighted and downright uncivilized – that the only thing many of today's teens care about are the latest comings and goings of the odious Kardashian clan. It's an image that many, many media have worked very hard to perpetuate – and it's one that couldn't be further from the truth.

From humanitarian trips to sticking up for the most vulnerable among them, the reality of today's teenager is far removed from the reality portrayed in television and the media. We at TC Media are privileged to be in a position where we get to see, firsthand, the very real differences some of these students are making in their communities.

Maybe you caught sight of John Rennie High School's Pink Shirt Day, which promoted empathy and encouraged students at the school to 'step up to prevent someone else from being stepped on,' and other initiatives. Maybe you heard about the efforts of students at St. Thomas High School, who raised an impressive $75,000 with their Terry Fox Run this year. Maybe you know of some other initiative that I haven't mentioned here that you know about – there are so many worthy projects – that portraying today's teens as anything different from what their parents' generation did would be disingenuous.

The bright smiles and hopeful gazes tell us all we need to know about what's coming in the future – and the kids who are stepping up to face the uncertainty of that future will be prepared like never before. Education has come a long way, and the use of technology in classrooms bodes well for the markets looming in front of today's graduates, where the tech-knowledge gulf between smart-phone-armed teens and their parents is seemingly widening by the day.

That said, graduates who are saying good-bye to their alma mater after five years of secondary schooling had best wrap it up quick and allow themselves a short time to enjoy the moment before moving onto whatever is next, because the world will not wait for them. The world will not indulge them. The world will not coddle them, or let them sleep just five minutes more. The world will not see you for the special person you are inside. You have to show them just how special you are, through actions, credibility, responsibility and achievement. Success begets success – and when they say success is the result of one per cent inspiration and 99 per cent perspiration, it appears they were not wrong.

How bad do you want it? That's the question you have to answer for yourself. Because in this world, something that is important to you is always worth fighting for – but you have to make sure the fight is worth it. Fail, and fail again – it is only through trying and failing that we learn. You take in so much more in failure than in triumph, and the bitter sting of disappointment can have a lasting effect so cherish the sting when it does arrive, because it will propel you to bigger, better – and ultimately more satisfying – things in life.

Now go get to work on it.

Organizations: TC Media, John Rennie High School, St. Thomas High School

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