Words of advice offer course for the future

Published 2:56 pm Wednesday, June 1, 2005

By Staff
It was a sea of shiny satin gowns and smiling faces as graduates realized what may be the first of many dreams.
Both Cassopolis and Edwardsburg held graduation ceremonies this weekend.
As I listened to the alumni speakers at both, I couldn't help wonder if those in the rows waiting to have their tassels turned to the other side were really listening.
Unfortunately so much of the wonderful advice those who have gone before have to offer, goes unheard.
Maybe they were listening to a song replaying in their head, or wondering who would come to their graduation party.
I can't remember much of my high school graduation, other than those now faded photos of hugging my best friends.
The girl in the photo I remember best died at 50. She would have been be 57 next week.
What Mary Parks, the former Miss Edwardsburg and graduate who returned after 25 years to give the commencement address, told of giving back to her community.
That is what I remember most of my friend's funeral. She had been living, as does Parks, in California.
Apparently my friend, Kathy Sullivan was well known in her community, a frequent volunteer at her daughter's school, and also a participant in her church.
Maybe she listened to her graduation speech and followed the advice of not living for yourself.
Oh she had a great job, made enough money to have a hot tub, nice car, and buy fancy jewelry. I couldn't believe how much she used to spend on her purses. Still she also knew what was really important in life.
Parks said her teachers and parents in Edwardsburg reminded her to "look at others more than myself. It was a huge gift. Don't forget where you came from."
Dr. Dave Weatherspoon told the graduates at Ross Beatty in Cassopolis how he travels throughout the world. With his laptop computer and cell phone, he can conduct business anywhere.
He said he had a strategy. He actually planned where he wanted to be in 10 years after graduation, advice he had heard and made his own.
He wanted to "become valuable to society." To do that he "created a vision - a roadmap."
Both speakers told the graduates to look at the small towns they came from with pride.
The diversity they have experienced is similar to the world they are entering with this milestone.
Weatherspoon said of Cassopolis, "it's a great place to come back to, when you are beat up, to get your bearings."
Kathy came home to rest near her high school. She left, as we all do, without her jewelry or purses, but with a good feeling in the hearts of all who knew her.