Of all the many requests you may receive today and the promises you may
be making to yourself, I only ask of you to remember a few things.
First remember where you came from. There are several unwritten rules of
life that have been bestowed upon each and every one of us who came
from this wonderful school. We must first learn to respect and value one
another in order to build a better community.
In order to do this we need to learn self respect. Each one of you
knows the value of your education and what it means to your parents,
guardians, or to you personally.
Just as importantly, your education is only as good as your desire to
continue charting your course to advance yourself, challenge your
hidden abilities, and commit to maintaining a positive course in this life.
You must strive to become good, productive citizens for our city, our
State, and our country.
General Mc Arthur giving his last great speech almost a generation ago
to the graduating cadet class at West Point stated to those hardened and
trained young army cadet leaders, that it is duty, honor, and country
that must drive and become the inner core of every honorable American
This great general in referring to these three great words said:
"Unhappily, I possess neither that eloquence of diction, that poetry of
imagination, nor that brilliance of metaphor to tell you all that they
mean. The unbelievers will say they are but words, but a slogan, but a
In my own words I believe they represent respect for yourself, those you love, and your neighbors.
Remember to honor our God our family, and our heritage. It is the nourishment and fuel that you will need to chart your course in life.
I canít help but think -- just like America, "Oh St. Anthony, St. Anthony,
God has shed his grace on thee."
We were taught to put back into society a little more than we take out.
We all walk off this campus with a certain ethical fabric that tells us to
lead, not follow; strive to reach a little higher with our God given
abilities; share our talents and riches with others; and to always
remember we are all equal. To achieve and maintain these lofty goals, we must
all stay directed in our vision -- like the laser instrument used by famous
doctors and scientists that pinpoint their objective.
You and I all now live in a changed world, and I cannot help but
reflect on what Raymond Kroc the founder of the famous McDonalds hamburger chain
once published in full page adds in all the national newspapers. He quoted
the following from an unknown writer:
"Press on, nothing in the world can take the place of persistence,
talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men and women with
talent; genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb;
educationwill not, the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and
Determination are omnipotent."
So now, for all of us, we never stop learning. Education is the
vehicle by which we continue our lifeís path to knowledge, productivity,
enrichment, and fulfillment. You must be steadfast in
order to achieve your goals and objectives.
Will this be easy? Probably not. Although some may make it look
simple, we all know that not much really comes easy for most of us. I was running
the other morning, and if any of you are runners, you know that itís hard
work, it gets hot and, usually if you are like me, it really isnít easy.
Another runner passed me. He was a marine, and on the back of the fellowís
T-shirt was written the following: "Pain is weakness leaving the body."
Just be prepared for your lifeís journey. Stay fit physically, emotionally,
and mentally. Some challenges and decisions may be painful, but not
There is no one else like you in this world of almost 5 billion people.
You as an individual are ultimately responsible and are the architect of
your own actions, your personal drive and leadership qualities will
determine your destiny, and distinguish you from all the others.
I want to leave you with the following -- it was written by President
Theodore Roosevelt, and itís entitled "The Man Who Counts."
"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the
strong man tumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is
marred by dust, sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes
short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions
and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the
triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at
least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those
cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."
I want to take this opportunity to congratulate all of you on behalf of
our proud Colonna family, steeped in the everlasting tradition that is
comprised of this wonderful school called St. Anthony. Remember to always
remember your roots.
May the stars always glow in the sky for you and the rays of sun shine
on you and follow you always through life. You are Saints forever.
Good luck and may God Bless you always.