A Piece of My Mind
Bennet Pomerantz

For the Grads 2005

So many friends are returning back to school, from my adopted kid sis, Lisa to my friend Scotty. And now that Scotty will get his BS (don't get me started on what I think of Scotty's BS) on May 28. I wrote this column for him and the other grads.

I put this column in a frame work of High School graduation.  A few years ago I was invited to speak at a graduation and had to turn it down due to medical reasons. I hope someone will invite me again.

So to Scotty and all the members of the class of 2005, I lift one to you...and Lisa, I will be somewhere at your University of Phoenix graduation. I booked it on my schedule. Don't be surprise if I am on the dais speaking there!

One final note, any writers going to Book Expo America in New York on the second through the fifth of June, I will be there..Look me up!

Go to school. I tell you go to school. I'm well known and I made a lot of money and I lost a lot of money. I'd be better off if I had gone to school longer and so will you.
                     - Joe Louis

Let me set the scene for you
The school band playing, the family and friends are rustling to their seats.  State officials arise and walk to the platform dais, and then the students march in with those gowns or robes with thumbs up to family and friends. All stating they're graduating today. The air tingles with excitement...Ah to be young again!

After the minister or rabbi gives a blessing over the students, the head of the school board and the local state senator speak. It seems like they perform the same speeches every year for every school. The Principal imparts a few choice words of wisdom, looking at this group of students, his students, who he knows are moving on in their lives.

Then the Principal turns to the guest speaker and introduces me. I stand nervous. You would be too, if you have 1000 eyes staring at you, awaiting on your every word. You know its easy to pen words, it is harder to speak them in a large group. I clear my throat, take my index cards from my jacket pocket and look out at the assembled students.

I see life as a journey, and the destination as growth and self-awareness. Who we meet on the path determines the direction that journey takes. I enjoy and seek connection, communication and passion.

I look down at my speech written on my cards. There are times as a writer you know your speech ain't working, believe me I knew it now! I look up at the audience of parents and well wishers. Most seem bored to tears. I put down my index cards and start to wing it.

I want to be the first to congratulate
all of you for getting this far in your life. You have made it through twelve years of education. Some people cannot say that!  All of you have faced challenges in your short lives . . . some very deep-felt losses, some great gains, some highs and some lows. However, you did not make it here alone. Take a look up to your family and friends up in the stands. Mom, Dad, Uncle Harvey, Aunt Sue, Grandma & Grandpa, your brothers and sisters, cousins, close family friends, and others who cared enough to be here today. Now look around you, at your classmates, your friends, your religious leader, your teachers and your school administration. These people have helped you make it. They should also be thanked for your being here today because they helped shape you in some way.

And here you stand, at an apex in your life, as all of us have sometime in our lifetime . . . Are you going to college? Something I hope most of you do, since a college degree matters most in advancing yourself in life..... Are you going into military service? The military trains the best in skills that you can use after you leave the armed services. Remember also, It is an honor to serve your country.... Are you starting full time in the work force? For some you need to, college will have to wait, and I understand that more than most... Will you marry your High School sweetheart? Or do none of those, you know beach bum is a career too! It is not a good one, but it is a career ...there are so many choices ahead in your future for you to make.

People will suggest so many things as you leave high school. I ask you today, to do one thing for me, learn that your one voice makes a difference everywhere.

I know as a writer, I understand the power of words. However there is a stronger and a greater power.... the power of making your one voice count.

I never thought I'd quote Abbie Hoffman, but The Great Radical himself once said "I grew up with the idea that democracy is not something you believe in, or a place you hang your hat, but it's something you do. You participate. If you stop doing it, democracy crumbles and falls apart . . . young people, if you participate, the future is yours."

I am not asking any of you to become great statesmen. I am not asking you to give up your future for any cause, unless you truly believe in that cause.

I AM asking you to vote in your next election, whether it be local or national. I know some of you already do!  I am asking you to see what is going on in your federal, state and local governments. I am asking you to watch the news, read the paper, view the internet, or listen to the radio . . . be informed about what's going on around you. I am asking you to make your voice count for all these people that backed you today.

One day, it will be your turn for someone to understand when they look up in the bleachers for their family and know you are that special person who, with your one voice, became a mentor in someone's life. You made a difference.

I can't tell you how proud I am, as I see this sea of faces before me. All bright and ready for what life has to throw upon you . . . and life, my dear students, will throw a lot upon you if you forget those people around you that matter.

There are many roads in life. As the great poet Robert Frost said in the poem "The Road Not Taken",

Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference.

Thrive to take the road not taken, don't take the easy path. Use that one voice you have to make your life and those lives around you better.

Well It seems I have spoken enough for today. Today is your extraordinary graduation day. Don't press this moment into a memory book too quickly and tuck it away for twenty years. In your yearbooks, you wrote goals for your future ...even someone wanting to be the next Mrs. Brad Pitt, to that person I wish them luck! Just don't forget those goals you stated for yourself! Try to make them come true in your life.

And remember this special day of reckoning, for this moment will never come again for any of us. Enjoy this day and those in your life who made a difference. Say a prayer to those who couldn't make it here for whatever reason - remember Life does happen - or who have passed on for they are here in spirit.

And always, reach for the stars!

This article is the sole property of the author. It is produced here with the author's permission.  The unauthorized use or reprinting of an article is illegal, and will be prosecuted at the discretion of the author.

Fiction Fix Home Page

Current Issue

Contact us.

Article Archive

Writers' Guidelines


Privacy Statement



About the Writer:

Bennet Pomerantz is a media review columnist in 175 newspapers with his weekly column AUDIOWORLD. His fiction and reviews have appeared in the pages of Affaire De Coeur, Gateways, Mystery Scene, Power Star, The Hot Corner, Washington Entertainment Magazine, and many others. He is also known for his review appearances on the MCN Forum. View his web site at Audioworld.