K-12 EDUCATION

Graduation advice from Utah leaders for the class of 2023

May 26, 2023, 5:00 AM

(Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News) Follow @amandadickson...

(Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

(Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Thousands of Utah teenagers are preparing to take hold of the tassel on their graduation caps and move it in unison to the other side, to throw their caps high in the air, to walk on to the stage of adulthood and receive their high school diplomas. As they take this momentous step, here is some graduation advice and words of encouragement from Utah leaders to share with your graduate.

Gov. Spencer Cox

“I know there’s a lot of worry and concern about the future,” said Cox. “But I want to assure the Class of 2023 that there’s never been a better time to be alive than right now and there’s never been a better place to live than right here in Utah. We can solve any problem if we’re willing to work together.”

Elizabeth Smart

“My advice for the class of 2023 is that labels and experiences (and even degrees) don’t define you,” said Smart of her graduation advice. “Your choices do. Remember as you venture out into the world as new graduates that every person you meet has a story. Choose kindness as often as you can!”

BYU’s Kalani Sitake

“Don’t be afraid to fail,” said BYU’s head football coach, Kalani Sitake. “You are going to hear the word ‘no’ oftentimes and going to experience failure. That’s okay. That just means you can continue to hustle and work, you are going to try hard and learn a lot of things and get yourself closer to hearing the word ‘yes’.”

Ambassador Jon Huntsman, Jr.

  1. Don’t just sit there, do something! In a time of chronic complaining, we need more doers, problem solvers and peacemakers.
  2. Minimize contention, maximize love. The most powerful words in the English language are “I love you.” Make sure your daily vocabulary includes them.
  3. Life isn’t a dress rehearsal. It’s the real deal. Life moves fast. Decisions matter and have consequences. You’re the only one in charge of how you allocate your precious years of life. Don’t let the fiction, allure and poison of social media steal your most precious years. You won’t get them back.
  4. Simplicity is pure gold. Remove the clutter in life (particularly from your brain) and narrow your focus to the truly important things. Gratitude and humility are two hugely under-appreciated superpowers in life and only possible with an uncluttered life.
  5. Run fast, work hard and never give up!”

Related: Making graduation advice, and graduation, more meaningful

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall

“When speaking to students, I like to impress the importance of action,” said Mendenhall. “What you do matters. What you do today, tomorrow, next week and next year matters. It seems people favor apathy over action these days. It’s easier to be angry than to positively work together for change.

“My advice to the class of 2023 is to get involved. Join a community organization or volunteer for a cause you believe in. It can be as simple as attending a clean-up at a local park, planting a tree or joining a student advocacy organization — but we are strong as a community when we work together.

“You are the next generation of mayors, City Council members, entrepreneurs and artists. Your viewpoints and your voice matter. No matter what your family looks like or where you come from, no one is exactly like you. Cherish your individuality and feel confident in stepping up to the table when you see something that could be better. We need you.”

We want to hear from you.

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Graduation advice from Utah leaders for the class of 2023