A Special Note to Graduating Seniors of Richardson High School
June 1, 2018

Dear graduating seniors of Richardson High School,

On this momentous day of your graduation I want to take a moment to share some thoughts, some words of encouragement on the tremendous adventure you have ahead of you, and offer a few words of advice that have stuck with me over the years.

Mostly, however, I want to thank you.

Thank you for coming to us in our weakness. Especially those of you who have been involved in the foundation and in TOPS, you helped restore my faith in young people and in humanity. And even more than that. You showed up with your open hearts to be a part of a solution. You volunteered at our galas. You met on evenings to listen to people tell their stories about mental health, and discussed hard topics about overcoming depression and self-harm. You designed T-shirts and bore witness to the message of teen mental health — a message by teens for teens. We made a cool YouTube video and with your help and talent we translated it into multiple languages so it could be heard all over the world. We volunteered for good causes together. We awarded heroes who made a difference. And we sat around a fire and ate hot dogs and talked.

Thank you. Thank you for being in our lives. I am so impressed with all of you. We in the foundation and in my family will never forget you.

This Saturday when I watch you graduate it will be hard not to think of what could have been. That’s inevitable. Next year there will be a whole new group of young people. And even though none of them will have known Sadie, they will benefit from your legacy. As you go through life, keep Sadie’s memory with you and know with absolute certainly that we love you and that you have done wonderful things. Please stay in touch!!

OK, lastly, here is the advice. I’ll make it brief since I’m sure you’re getting a lot of it today!

First, when you look for a potential spouse, observe how they treat hired help. Do they treat waiters and waitresses, maids, and faceless people on the other end of a telephone with respect? Know that someday they will treat you the same way.

Consider charity to be not an obligation but an honor. When you assist someone with a kind gesture, thank then for giving you an opportunity to express your humanity. Doing so not only reflects great grace that will serve you well, it also develops within you a spirit of humility.

At the end of the day, one of the most important things you possess is your words. Do not give them away without care.

Finally, you possess some fundamental human rights that are absolutely essential for human happiness. You will absolutely encounter people who will try to take these rights away from you if you let them. No not let them, regardless of the short term gain they offer.

That’s it guys! Enjoy the day!! You deserve it!

Stay in touch — you always know where we are! Keep those lights on!

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