May 22, 2020 - Graduation

When I Woke Up This Morning! (Graduation)

When I woke up this morning I thought about our young people who are graduating from high school and college. Even though they are not permitted to have a traditional graduation due to covid-19, it is a blessing to have them graduate virtually. Families are rejoicing that these students have completed another chapter in their lives. To all of the graduates at Grace UMC, we say congratulations.

Back in the late 90's while employed by Prince George's County Public Schools, I had the opportunity annually to give a two minute speech at most of the then twenty high school graduations. It was an exciting time for parents and students, educators, etc. I would always attempt to give an inspirational moment that would hopefully be lasting. Well, you never know who is listening. One word that most folk got a charge out of was integrity. To this day Mother Charlotte Smith, a proud  grandmother at the time, reminds me of her presence at one of those graduations and she still loves to simply say "integrity."         

Today we salute and honor six of our students who have matriculated through high school and college:

  1. Jovon Jackson: University of Maryland College Park

  2. Chloe Colbert: Morgan State University

  3. Jayvious Williams: Rutgers University

  4. Colton Campbell: University of Maryland College Park (Dec.)

  5. Danielle Baker: Bowie State University (Dec.)

  6. Akilah Curtis: Old Mill High School

I leave that same word integrity with our graduates today. Integrity is hard to come by these days, for so many have forgotten that the word exists. Integrity is simply being honest and uncompromising when it comes to doing the right thing. In doing the right things, remember there will be times you will have to stand for what is right and sometimes that will mean standing all by yourself. 2 Corinthians 8:21 says, "For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man."    

One of the college graduates made this statement about college, "College life was probably one of the hardest obstacles I have had to face in my 24 years of living. I am thankful to God, my church family and my family for their love and support. I have finally graduated with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in child and adolescent studies."

We continue to encourage our young people because we know there will be many trials and challenges in life, but we continue to encourage them to keep their faith in God. Don't give up regardless of how difficult it may seem. The college student I quoted in the above statement persevered in spite of the difficulties she had to face. Praise God she stood the test and completed the race. I leave these words with the college graduates and our young men and women, "In life we will face many hardships, but if we ask God to show us the way, we can persevere through all things."   

"Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him." James 1:12     

I leave these words of advice and encouragement for our young people. Without a high school education your chances in life of getting a good job will be limited. Even if it means getting a GED, it will pay off in the long run. I would admit that college may not be meant for everyone, but if you have the resources, skills and intelligence to pursue an education beyond high school, please do so. It is tough getting jobs now and with covid-19 being in our mist, it will become even more difficult. There is nothing wrong with getting a degree from a community college. It is a start and will benefit you even if you pursue your own business. Just know that it is never too late.       

Not a sermon, just a thought!

Robert Earl Slade, Pastor