To our senior . . .

BY JOE BUCK COATES
[email protected]

You do not realize this, but the rest of your life has already begun.  Yes, you graduate from high school this Friday, but the rest of your life began before this week, this month, this school year even started.
You’ve already begun college coursework, and thankfully, at Co-Lin–one of my favorite places in Copiah County.  I say thankfully, not because you’ll only be a few minutes away and your mother, your brother and I will be seeing you quite a bit, but because the choice you made was wise.  Co-Lin is simply the best academic and life investment you could have made in yourself.  I’m proud of you for eagerly choosing that path.
You’ve handled your senior year pretty well . . .gracefully.  You achieved much this past year through your own efforts.  You became a leader, which will take you places in your life that you will not be expecting.  And, I think you will always cherish the memories of the little moments from this past year that were like icing on the cake.
You have become more responsible, better able to handle things by yourself.  You’ve matured into a beautiful, respectful young lady.    You seem, too, to be able to laugh at yourself, which is a sure sign of your maturity. 
Most of all, you grew in your friendships, and the number of your friends grew.  You can never have too many friends, nor too many people that love you.  New ones will come and go, and always remember your friends now.
Set high goals for yourself and work hard to achieve them.  Do not let fear get in your way.  You are going to experience failure in your life–everybody does.  Not every decision you make is going to work out the way you want it to.  But, don’t be afraid.  Get right back up when you’ve been knocked down and charge ahead! 
Welcome opportunities to learn, to grow, to meet new people, to make money, to volunteer and to help others.  Pray.  Pray everyday.  Lord knows your sweet Mama has prayed for you every single day of your 18 years (and, she will continue to pray for you).  Thank the Lord for each new day. 
And, finally, the choices you make will dicate the life you lead.  Make good ones–they are always the easiest.  Set a good example and live everyday to be the best you can possibly be.
Very proud of you-looking forward to the next chapter of you life.  
Your mother, brothers and I love you and are grateful that you are you!

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