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SPOTLIGHT
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Commencement speech resonates still

Published on -5/29/2013, 9:46 AM

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One of the things I enjoy doing every year at this time is reading about the high school graduates' future plans in the paper's special section.

I read about the hopes and dreams of Hays High School graduates earlier this month, and did the same for Thomas More Prep-Marian's graduates Sunday.

It's interesting to see what their plans are. Most of them have big plans; they are going to be doctors or nurses, or joining the Marines, or maybe traveling the world as a fashion designer.

One Hays High graduate's future plans were pretty simple. He just wanted to make his parents proud of him. I bet their hearts just about busted wide open with pride for their son, when his parents read that.

When it comes to commencement addresses, however, they often seem to strike the same chord: some variation on the themes of you are the future and live life to the fullest.

That is, unless you were the commencement speaker at my high school graduation all those many years ago.

As memory serves, our class thought it would be a neat idea to have the person who gave the commencement address for our junior high graduation do the same for our high school graduation.

Let's just say the person might have led a colorful life in the intervening four years, unbeknownst to us. And, his speech was colorful, too.

There we sat, on the front lawn of our high school, in our caps and gowns on that big night. Our families were seated behind us. We were waiting for words of wisdom, something to guide us into adulthood.

Perhaps my fellow classmates have long forgotten, but I always will remember the speech, which can be summed up thusly: Beware of the three B's, he said -- booze, babies and broads.

You could hear crickets chirp. In my mind, I imagined moms and dads sitting there stunned, their jaws dropping.

Then the speaker went on in some detail about the evils of the three B's. It was something you could say in the 1970s, but never get away with these days, and deservedly so. It would be wrong on so many levels.

I don't remember exactly what he said after that on that august occasion, but I always will remember the three B's. His speech was memorable; I will give him that.

If our class learned much from our speaker's dire words of warning, I couldn't tell you. But I think we did learn one thing; call it another B.

(B)e careful who you choose as your commencement speaker.

Randy Gonzales is a reporter at The Hays Daily News. rgonzales@dailynews.net

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