SNSMS Graduation Speech


Thank you students, teachers, parents and guests for inviting me to join in today’s celebration. It is a pleasure to be in Guimba with the students, staff, and families of Starbright. I am touched by your welcome and humbled to be selected as your guest speaker.


First, congratulations to the graduating and advancing students. Today you take one more important step on your path to success. All of today’s smiles, congratulations, and celebrations are in honor of your accomplishment. Graduates, please remember today, because today is your day.

Congratulations to the teachers and staff. Today is also your day. Your time, your efforts, your care, and your entire year were given to the students’ and this school. You have guided the students through their early childhood and through some challenging lessons, both inside and outside of the classroom. I know these teachers well, it is their devotion to the individual students that transforms this building into a nurturing schoolhouse. All of today’s smiles, congratulations, and celebrations were made possible because of you. Cherish today teachers, because today is your day.

Congratulations to the families, today is just as much your day. Be proud that today your efforts become an accomplishment. The little ones that you first brought to us in kindergarten are now confidently advancing toward higher education and their teen years. The collaboration between the families and school has transformed a small schoolhouse into a community. Thank you parents for your commitment to our community. Families enjoy today, because today is certainly your day.

If today belongs to all of us, the students, the teachers, and the families, then today is our day. Graduation is a special moment when we as a community can see our students’ efforts, our teacher’s guidance, and our families’ support achieve success. Our community comes together today to celebrate our achievement.


Our day is a graduation ceremony. A Graduation ceremony is both the happy ending of one chapter in life and an exciting beginning to the next chapter. Let us invite God to join us in our hearts, in our congratulations, and in our celebration. With God and with our community today is truly our day.

The Mountain

Graduates, please imagine something that you really want.

Maybe you want an IPhone 6, a home of your own, a good job, to visit a loved one, or a chance to travel. Whatever it is that you want, hold it in your mind.

Please try to imagine how it feels to have what you want.

Please ask yourself, What does it look like? How does it feel to have it? Where will you put it at night? What will you do with it?

Please imagine that what you want is ontop of a mountain… a very high mountain. Imagine that you are on the ground looking up at the very high mountain. How will you get what you want? | pause |

You must climb the mountain.

Although mountain climbing is not easy, we all must climb mountains to get the things we want in our lives. Graduates, I will share some mountain climbing advice to help you along your first steps toward achieving your dreams.

Step 1: Believe it

First, you must want, deeply want, something. You should feel in your heart that you must have it. In your free time, you should imagine and daydream how it feels to have it.

If you want a good job, try to imagine what you will wear to work. If you want a family, try to imagine the house you will live in. If you want a car, imagine what color it will be.

When I was younger, I really wanted to learn how to speak Japanese. I used to close my eyes and imagine myself speaking fluent Japanese. That was the first beginning of my now ten years of Japanese language study. You students, you can do the same.

If you let your imagination grow and grow and grow, you will begin to believe your daydreams are possible. Once you believe it is possible to have what you want, you can climb any mountain.

Put simply, imagining your success is the first step to reaching it.

Step 2. Study for it!

Before you can climb the mountain you must study the mountain itself. It is important to learn about the challenge ahead before you begin climbing.

How tall is the mountain? How long will it take to climb? How fast should you walk? Have other people climbed it before? Is it dangerous?

When I was learning Japanese as a child, I searched the Internet and book stores to gather study materials. I made Japanese friends in my city and read books about Japanese culture.

Students, the reason we go to school is to learn how to study, so that in the future we know how to study for our own mountains.

Say you wanted a good job you must find out, what are the requirements, what skills do you need, what does the company need from you.

Put Simply, understanding the challenge ahead is the 2nd step to finding your path up the mountain.

Step 3. Find Your Path

Although many people are climbing their own mountain toward similar goals, our mountains are our own. Please ask for the guidance of experienced climbers such as your family, friends, and teachers to motivate you when you need help. As you climb many peoples’ paths will join yours for sometime, and then go their own way. Some of these fellow climbers will help you and some will distract you. Please remember that your path is one you make as you go, it is not a path you can simply follow. You are committed to finding your own way to climb to the top.

Simply put, with the support of loved ones, knowledge from your studies, and the company of friends all packed into your backpack, you can find your own way to the top.

Step 4. Start Climbing

There will be countless steps along your path up the mountain. Once you are a prepared, and luck favors the prepared, its time to start all the hard work of climbing. The climb is going to be long and challenging. My only advice is to keep going. Life is like a bicycle to keep your balance you must keep moving. On the journey, you will likely climb up, climb down, rest, and make lots of effort to succeed. Your journey could take weeks, months, or even years. No matter how long it takes just keep going.

I have not reached my goal to be fluent in Japanese. That climb will take my many years. I have had times of fast climbing, slow climbing, I’ve got lost, and I’ve fallen. I have learned new words and forgotten words. My path has not been straight up the mountain. But every step, even a misstep, is a part of the path to progress. I know that I must keep going.

Students, if you never give up, you can never fail. I was not a very strong student when I younger. I was tutored after school in all subjects. The only reason I was able to do well in school was because I never gave up.

As you climb you will meet new people, learn new things, and you will change. Each person that you come across on your path has a purpose. They lead you either by good example or by bad example toward your goal. You should trust yourself, and decide for yourself if they are helping you or distracting you. You can know a true friend by how they help you along your path.

When you are in need of motivation ask your family, friends, and teachers for help. We at Starbright are committed to your success from childhood onward. Come to visit a teacher years later and ask for advice on your own path. Starbright is here for you.

Step 5 Have faith

Just before you reach the top of the mountain, you may be tested. Everything that you worked for will be challenged. When this test comes you may feel stressed, but actually it means you are very close to the top of the mountain.

If you wanted a good job, after years of study and preparation… the interview is that test. If you wanted to build a home maybe a storm will test your foundation. Whatever you wanted, just before you achieve it God will test your faith.

This is the time when you must call on your faith to guide you through the difficulties. Although the path is your own, God has been beside you the entire time. Even if you fail at the test the first time, you must prove your faith by trying again.

Success will come to people who have the faith to try and try again and again until they succeed.

Step 6 Achieve it

Finally after a long persistent climb you will reach the mountaintop. There you will finally achieve your dream and earn what you wanted. You will prove you can achieve your goals and that you have the patience, determination, and faith to keep climbing.

After this there is only one thing left to do….

Step 7 Celebrate

Today we are enjoying the final step of achieving our goals. We are thankfully celebrating your journey to the top. Graduates today you have come to the top of your first mountain. You have accomplished your goal: graduation.

You imagined your success over the years, you studied for your mountain, you found your own path through the school, you put in lots of work, you made friends, you had fights, you smiled, you cried, you grew-up. You found the guidance of teachers and family and in the last moments you accomplished your goal.

We are proud of you.

The Next Mountain

Standing on top of your first mountain with your teachers, family, and friends beside you…. What can you see? You can see in the distance the top of your next, even higher, mountain.

Yes, the last step of this climb is also the first step of your next climb.

Your last day at Starbright is the first day of your next challenge.

You have already learned what it takes to try, to persist, to study and to have the faith it takes to achieve a goal. You know the steps you need to take.

For Starbright graduates, there is no mountain they can’t find a path to climb.

Jade, Charles, Myka, Abby, and Stephanie tonight we celebrate the completion your years at Starbright and the beginning of your new tomorrows. You will have new challenges as you adjust to life in high school.

Over the years your parents have worked relentlessly to insure that you get the most out of your schooling. Reward their efforts by bringing home your academic success, sports accomplishments, and creative works of art. Over the years as you progress in your lives, please come back to visit Starbright for advice, to guide the younger students, and to share all your good news.

We are excited to hear about the paths you will choose in life.

Thank you for inviting me to be a part of Our Day. And thank you for listening.

Congratulations to the graduates for their success and to the younger students keep climbing!


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