By graduation day most of McNary’s class of 2018 will have decided what they will do next—work, travel, enter the military or prepare for college. Some of you will toss your mortar boards into the air at the ceremony vowing to be rid of school forever. That’s viable, that’s a choice. There are no wrong choices when designing your life. And that’s what you will do, whether your school days are over forever or whether this summer is just a respite from your next educational step.

Whatever path you choose to follow make it count.  Over the past 11 years in this space we have tried to be inspirational for graduates. Several points have popped up every year, because, well, a classic is a classic…

Do no harm. Don’t be intolerant or mean to others. Everyone is on their own journey on their own timeline, be patient. Don’t get angry unnecessarily—the country already has too much faux rage about little things. Don’t add to it.

No one’s perfect. People don’t always succeed the first time. Winners keep trying to attain their goals, learning from their mistakes and setbacks. Don’t fear failure. It took a lot of failures to finally put man on the moon or to develop smartphones. Keep at it, people admire those who have perseverance, not quitters.

Keep an open mind. About everything—people, places, things; a rigid mind makes for a small person.

Live well and let others live well. Be part of a solution, not part of a problem. Respect others in mind and body, respect your own body. When it comes to your peers, be a mentor.

As a classic book of 60 years said,  life is a banquet. So it is, grab yourself a heaping plate of life and dig in.

  —LAZ