Dear Graduates and significant others in your life:

CONGRATULATIONS to the graduating Class of 2008. We commend you for YOUR achievements and your determination to put your creative energy to life's task. It has not always been easy; we know that. Your desire, your perseverance, and your tenacity are all virtues for which you will be known. And soon they will be thought of as the legacy of your "school days." These attributes are life's building blocks you will draw upon as you move forward. Be reminded that where you are now is engrained by how you see yourself, your values and work ethic and is bolstered by your contact with family and the people you know best. Cherish and cultivate these holdings.

We would like to be able to guarantee a good life for each of you; but that is, of course, well beyond our reach. Each of you is in charge of your own life. For whatever it is worth, we can only suggest that you be honest, show respect for others, strive for excellence, stand on principle, plan and manage your time well, and be true to yourself and to others.

We suggest that there are certain qualities you can cultivate to help maximize your life potential... aspire, dream, and plan for creative possibilities ahead. Hopes and aspirations help one to build more stately mansions... large and small. They help to support what appears to be the impossible to become the possible. Aspirations help to set a directional tone for the years ahead and help to frame dreams of hope into a living vibrant reality.

We suggest that you aspire to make what you feel to be the nearly unreachable in your life into a passage of fulfilling possibility. These aspirations encourage great discoveries and innovations. Creative forward thinking puts energy into your life and sparks enthusiastic ambition into perpetual motion.

To each graduate we suggest that you continue your zest for learning. Your school years, important as they are, are not the only years where learning takes place. From here on, strive to learn something new every day. As time moves forward, you will develop your thinking powers, decision making skills, principled values, and perceptive attributes. Take responsibility for your successes and your failures. Enjoy the former and learn from the latter. At all times, be strong in virtue and resilient in lifestyle. Be wise and prudent with your finances, save for a rainy day, and be content without all of life's extravagancies. Remember the old and tested saying that helped so many: "make due, do without, use it up, and wear it out." No one ever went bankrupt following that advice.

Find your passion in life. Being passionate about something provides one with focus, satisfaction, energy, and a zest for accomplishment. Identify your passion, cultivate your interests, maintain your value system even against overwhelming odds. Be strong in character and true to worthy principles.

As you face the future challenges, you will soon come to understand that you are not the center of the universe and that your interests and priorities are not always the most important to others with whom you are associated. Life is a journey meant to be lived, not endured. Love the journey, and enjoy each step. Take pride in the ordinary as well as the extraordinary. Savor the simple and marvel at the complicated. Live rather than exist and let your aspiration be guided by your inspiration

Friends, as you chart the course of your future: you have a precious, "built-in" inspired value system. This value system of conscience will serve you well. Perhaps you will not remember much of what we have written here. But we urge you to take five words with you from this message. We suggest that you store these words in your memory bank for immediate retrieval for the time when that need arises. Dear graduates, "let inspiration guide your aspirations."

Sincerely, from your columnists Burr and Heichberger. And that is how we see it FROM OUR PERSPECTIVE.