PROSPERITY — Where your talents and the needs of the world cross, there lies your vocation. This quote, from Aristotle was what John Pugh gave the Mid-Carolina High School class of 2014 to think about Wednesday evening.
Pugh is a lifelong resident of Newberry County, graduating from MCHS in 1998. Following high school, Pugh attended Clemson University, later attending the University of South Carolina to obtain a doctorate in pharmacy. He began working at Prosperity Drug Co. in 2006, where he is today.
“We need police officers and soldiers to keep us safe, teachers to educate us, the world needs lots of people,” Pugh said to the graduates. “What do you enjoy doing? Where do you excel? Those paths will cross, and I that’s what I believe Aristotle meant.”
Pugh also reminded graduates that now that their graduation was upon them, they could enter into the world of debt.
“Everyone is now up to their eyeballs in debt,” Pugh said.
However Pugh was not referring to monetary debt, rather the debt each student owes to those in their lives who have gotten them to this point — the school board and administration who hire the best of the best to teach, and all of those teachers who used their own time and resources to help each student grow as a person.
“We all take that for granted,” Pugh said.”For a large population, there’s no such thing as schooling.”
Unlike monetary debt, Pugh reminded the graduates that they must now pay it forward. “You owe future generations the opportunity for an education like you had,” he said.
Many changes are ahead for the new graduates, and as Pugh reminded them change is a constant in life.
“In order to adapt, you must learn about what’s around you,” Pugh said. “You must read, study, and ask questions.”
Pugh urged the graduates to stay ahead of the curve and to keep the competitive advantage to want to learn as much as they could.
He reminded them of a quote from former president Harry Truman to never forget who they are, where they’ve come from and will come back to. “Mid-Carolina will always be home,” Pugh said. “Congratulations.”
Before the presentation of diplomas to the 164 graduates, Valedictorian Matthew Gentry offered his advice to the class of 2014. Gentry used the graduation as a symbol of the new responsibilities each of them would soon face.
Gentry said he could probably speak for most of the class when he said he felt that adulthood had arrived prematurely, as they begin taking the next steps into responsibility.
Rather than approaching adulthood as a daunting chore, Gentry suggested they all dream big.
“This is America,” Gentry said. “Land of the free and home of the corn dog.”
The example Gentry used was that of the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and the chances the main character Ferris took, rather than playing it safe.
In the movie, Bueller decides to call out sick from school by faking an illness to embark on an adventure involving his girlfriend, Sloane Peterson, his best friend Cameron Frye, and a Ferrari.
The movie got Gentry concerned with his own life choices and how many opportunities he may have left on the table by playing it safe. His advice was to focus more on lasting memories, like Bueller.
“Spontaneity is the catalyst for a satisfying life,” Gentry said. “Be responsible, but remember to live your life.”
Salutatorian Kristin Long congratulated the graduates on their soon-to-be new beginning. “We’ve been waiting 12 years for this,” Long said.
Long became emotional as she sincerely thanked her parents, along with the parents of each graduate, and the faculty for everything they had done to help them along their way.
Three words Long encouraged the class of 2014 to keep in mind were purpose, passion, and patience.
“Who are you meant to be and what are you meant to do,” Long asked. “Do what will benefit yourself and the community,” she said.
Long encouraged the graduates to also consider their passions — to do what they love and what makes them happy. As for patience, Long reminded them that getting where they may want to be in life takes time.
“Work for the things you want, and challenge yourself to do the hard things,” Long said. “Live your life with purpose, passion, and patience.”
As the graduates were presented their diplomas, the tassels were turned as another year was put into the books at Mid-Carolina High School. The graduates locked arms as they sang their alma mater as new alums.