Never stop learning and look for ways to improve the lives of others, Mayor Richard M. Daley today told students of the graduating class at Joseph Stockton Elementary School, 4420 N. Beacon St.
“Even though you’ve been going to school since you were five, your education is just beginning. And it will last your entire life,” Daley said.
“Your first responsibility, of course, is to yourselves. Reach as high as you can, and don’t let anybody tell you that anything is beyond your grasp.
At the same time, look for ways that you can improve the lives of others. It can be very rewarding – both to you and to the people you help. You can make your neighborhood, your city and your world a better place,” he said.
The Mayor congratulated the parents and family members, teachers and friends who provided the graduates with guidance and encouragement along the way.
And told the students they had achieved an important milestone on the way to something even more important – high school.
“High school will be more interesting and more exciting than elementary school. You’ll make new friends, and you’ll have a much wider variety of courses than you had here at Joseph Stockton. And – let’s be honest – high school is also going to be more of a challenge,” Daley said.
The Mayor asked every student to make a promise to themselves and to their parents or guardians to finish high school and get their diploma.
Their decision to complete high school will determine how the graduates live the rest of their lives, the Mayor told them.
“A high school education is absolutely essential to finding a decent job or obtaining admission to college or some other form of higher education. Sure, high school can be difficult.
“But if you hang in there, it will be well worth it because you will dramatically expand the possibilities that lie before you in life,” he said.
Daley said his highest priority as Mayor has been to make sure that all Chicago’s young people receive an education that enables them to achieve their full potential.
“This is good for you, and good for the city of Chicago. Because when our young people are well-educated, they’re able to get good jobs, support their families, improve their neighborhoods and live a rewarding life. Education is the key that opens all the doors to a good life,” he said.
The Mayor said there is one problem that could hold us back and slow down the progress of the city – and that is violence.
He said that for many students, the safest time of the day is while they’re in school and that, unfortunately, the most dangerous hours are after school and during the summer – when too many young people are without adult supervision.
“So with summer vacation about to begin, we want you and your friends to stay safe. Stay involved in positive, constructive activities. Stay away from the negative influence of gangs, guns and drugs,” he said.
The Mayor emphasized that point by saying: “Make smart choices about how to spend your time and who to spend it with. “Because who you hang out with and where can literally make the difference between life and death for you.”
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