As most people know, prior to entering politics, Mayor William Samaras served as the headmaster of Lowell High School for 19 years, from 1991 to 2010. On June 5th, the mayor returned to a very familiar scene for him, the Lowell High School graduation at the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell. Here is the text of his remarks to the graduating class.
Superintendent Jeannine Durkin, Head of School Marianne Busteed, Members of the School Committee, teachers, parents, friends, honored guests and, most of all, graduates – it is an honor to join you for the commencement exercises of the Lowell High School Class of 2019.
I stand before you tonight as the Mayor of Lowell, the second best job in the city—because for 19 years, I had what I consider to be the best job in the city of Lowell—headmaster of Lowell High School. It is with that background that I speak to you tonight.
First, I applaud each and every graduate who is receiving a diploma this evening for your hard work and dedication to receiving this status. The High School years are filled with distractions, unforeseen challenges, and sometimes self-doubt. When you add any or all of those things to a rigorous four-year high school curriculum – and succeed in completing the task, as you have done, it is commendable. Graduation is a time to look back at what you have accomplished and to be proud of yourselves. I hope the pride that you have in yourself, as you walk across the stage this evening, will stay with you forever. Always remember how Lowell High was the place you forged new beginnings and relationships. Never forget where you came from, continue to build on the knowledge that you have acquired at Lowell High, and embrace the exciting new opportunities that lay ahead for you.
Second, I am sure that your families are proud of you tonight. Let me join with you in thanking your families for the support that they provided for you along the way. This night is their celebration as well.
I think you should be proud to say that you come from a city that truly values education. And with that I am proud to have been a part of that movement in support of bringing a new Lowell High School to downtown.
In a few years your younger brothers and sisters, cousins and friends will be attending a state of the art Lowell High School campus. I have little doubt that the new Lowell High School will be the best of its kind in the entire Commonwealth.
But those future students will also be benefiting from a positive school culture and an environment of learning that you have helped shape with your time here over the past four years. You have paved the way for our future students.
That brings me to my final point which I want to touch on briefly. As mayor, one of my goals is to make Lowell the first city in the United States to be designated as a UNESCO Learning City. Lowell will soon be part of a Global network of cities around the world that emphasizes lifelong learning opportunities for its residents and you.
The philosopher John Dewey once said, “Education is not the preparation for life, it is life itself.”
Today marks a beginning—not an end—to your educational experience. Whatever path you take from here, whether it is continuing your academic journey through higher education, enlisting in the military, or entering the workforce, learning has to always be a lifelong endeavor.
My advice to you is to keep an open mind and an eagerness to embrace new challenges—that is how you will be successful.
I hope that your experience at Lowell High School has instilled in you the skills, the aptitude, and most importantly the passion to remain learners throughout your lives. If you can apply that mindset to your future path, wherever it takes you, I am certain you will make our city proud.
Congratulations to the Class of 2019!