This is my nephew, Patrick:
Cutest kid in the world. When I look at this picture, I see joy, and sweetness, and kindness, and hope, and all the promise of his whole life ahead of him. Only, this isn't what Patrick looks like today. Today, he looks like this:
And when I say that today he looks like that, I mean that almost literally - he graduated yesterday, on the very same day that the Lorenzo Walker Technical High School (LWTHS) inaugural class of students graduated. He began his high school career back in August 2006, on the very same day that the LWTHS inaugural class first walked through our doors.
And I told our staff back in 2006 that I knew there would be days during his high school career when he would drive his teachers crazy. Maybe he wouldn't do his homework. Maybe he wouldn't study as hard for a test as he could have. Maybe he would spend more time talking to the cute girl sitting behind him in class than learning quadratic equations. Maybe he would even try to text in class. But despite all that, whenever I looked at him, THIS would be my Patrick:
And I asked our teachers to remember, as our LWTHS students were about to join us for that very first day of school (both for them, and for us), that each and every one of those students was someone's Patrick. Each of them IS someone's Patrick, still today, still four years later after we first met them. These young men and women have been their families' Patricks for seventeen or eighteen years. But, kids, we want you to know.
For the last four years, you've been our Patricks, too.
To all our Lorenzo Walker Technical High School members of the Class of 2010... to all the Lorenzo Walker Institute of Technology members of the Class of 2010... in fact, to all graduates everywhere, who have persisted, and succeeded, and accomplished their goals...
Congratulations. You are all someone's Patrick, and that someone is very, very proud today.