“Academic success is the last true partnership,” stated Matt Bullard, Presiding Superintendent at the Students of Excellence Banquet and Recognition Ceremony on April 25. He continued saying that it takes the parents and guardians, educators, students and community leaders with vision and exceptional leadership to create opportunity for students to stretch and succeed.
He encouraged the young adults to say a special thank you to those who encouraged and helped them achieve, in particular, their parents and guardians.
An evening filled with accolades, best wishes, and congratulations marked the 25th annual banquet. Over 650 people attended the event honoring the area’s top 171 high school seniors — including Cassandra Hulburt, Travis Kasper, Thomas Ley, and Samantha Pitts from Monticello High School. These seniors will soon graduate from 41 high schools in the Central MN region.
Welcoming the guests was Dr. Rob Cavanna, Executive Director for Resource Training & Solutions “You are about to begin a true journey in life,” he said. Cavanna commented on a few of the top twenty life rules culled from graduation talks around the country. “First rule find your passion. You can Google for an answer; a mate; or a career,” he quoted. “But, you can’t ask Google to find your passion.”
Keynote speaker, Bill Collar told a story of his granddaughter practically forcing him to go on a horse ride. He reluctantly climbed in the saddle, turned to check out his granddaughter, fell off the horse, was bumping his head and yelling for help. Everything turned out fine when the store manager shut off the electric merry-go-round. Everyone had a good laugh but Collar used the story to compare perception (getting up on a fast horse) versus reality (it was merely a merry-go-round).
“There is a perception in this room that all of these students have accomplished a great deal,” Collar said. “But reality is you are going to accomplish a great deal more.”
The Resource Board of Directors chair, Ken Anderson brought greetings and congratulations from the Resource Board of Directors. Anderson talked about the students’ accomplishments. “However,” he added “when you are off to college next year - those accomplishments won’t matter. When next fall rolls around, I urge you to do three things:”
Assistant Commissioner of Education Rose Chu brought words of congratulations and well wishes from the Governor and the Department of Education.
Criteria for selection to the Recognition Event is at the discretion of each school but based upon recommended guidelines. Schools can choose two to four seniors and have the option to invite favorite teachers, coaches and administrators. Resource Training & Solutions has been sponsoring, coordinating and fiscally supporting the event since 1987. Sandra Cordie, Director of Educational Programs for the agency, organizes the event.
At the conclusion of the keynote address, Collars said “Great achievers often fail. When you look in the mirror at night, ask yourself what did I fail at? Challenge yourself, listen to your intuition, find your passion” Collar urged.
After all the plaques and certificates were distributed, handshakes all around and photos taken, Matt Bullard again congratulated the honorees and reminded students that opportunities are only the beginning, they must seek the challenges, embrace the unknown and enjoy the future.