A message for our graduates: Seek opportunity

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By Congressman Bob Goodlatte

A wise man named Albert Einstein once said, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”  As high school and college students across the Sixth District don caps and gowns, walk across the stage, and accept a diploma, we are reminded of the great opportunities fostered by education and hard work. 


Being named a graduate of high school, college, graduate school, or vocational training is a monumental occasion that comes only after a great deal of effort, studying, and perseverance.  It is often the things that are most difficult in our lives that present the greatest opportunities.  You have finished the work, passed the tests, and proven your ability to set a goal and then achieve that goal.  Graduation is a time to reflect on these hard-earned accomplishments, but also a day for graduates to remember to keep seeking opportunities to learn. 


While there may be fear of the unknown after graduation, these graduates have proven that they are ready for whatever may come next.  They bring with them a fresh perspective, an eager mind, and a promise for a brighter future.  The challenges and difficulties they face will vary.  Many graduates will join the workforce full-time, while some will seek to further their education.  Whichever path it may be, I encourage them to take the tools, resources, and skills they have learned and face these challenges.


This notion doesn’t just apply to our graduates.  Throughout our history, Americans have persevered in the face of great adversity.  From the first settlers who braved the unknown to create a better life, to our Founding Fathers who risked their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to form a new nation, to the brave soldiers who have defended our freedoms on battlefields across the globe, as Americans we continue to seek opportunity in the midst of difficulty. Today is no different.  As new graduates begin the next chapter, all Americans should remember to keep challenging themselves and seeking opportunities.


When we look at the faces of today’s graduates, we see the future leaders of this great nation.  I urge them to continue striving toward excellence.  Work through the difficulties and achieve the opportunities.  It is my hope that the willingness of these new graduates to learn and grow will drive our country forward.


Congratulations, to the Class of 2013.  The families, friends, educators, and communities who have provided endless support and guidance over the years are immensely proud of the graduates.  May God bless each of these graduates as they begin a new chapter and may He continue to bless the United States of America.