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June 16, 2013

A Ripon Graduation Speech

Retired Ripon Superintendent Richard Zimman:

The first speech was at a family dinner following that graduation ceremony 44 years ago. My father told me the most important thing to remember was to choose my career carefully. He said that I should do something I loved because 40 years is a long time doing something you don't like or you don't care about.

That's Lesson #2: "Work is a 4-letter word," my father said, "but so is the word play. Find a job that brings playful joy every day and you'll never work a day in your life." Not that it hasn't had its ups and downs, but being an educator has been a labor of love for me, and I'm thankful that I followed my father's advice. Now it's your turn to find your own labor of love.

My mother then said, "Not so fast, young man," as she leaned over, elbowing my father lovingly in the process. "It's not all about enjoying yourself," she said. "It's not all about you--that's selfish and useless." She insisted, "Find something that will make the world a better place than you found it." Although my mother was not a camper, and never saw an insect that she didn't run from, she believed in the good camper rule. "Always leave your campsite better than you found it," and she preached it constantly.

That's Lesson #3: Make a positive difference for others. When you look back at your life, you won't be proud of the money you made or the stuff you've accumulated or even the fun times you had for yourself. No, you'll look back and be most proud of what you did for others. You will feel your life was worth living because you made the world a better place for others. Then, my mother told me to stop chewing with my mouth open and to save room for dessert, and the speeches were over.

I hope that Zimman stats active on education issues.

Posted by Jim Zellmer at June 16, 2013 4:55 AM
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