COLUMN: Congratulations to the Class of 2023

Published 4:52 pm Wednesday, June 14, 2023

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Life has given you many opportune moments to do what is good for you. It has provided you ample time to prepare what’s best for you. 

You may not be aware of it but you and I have 24 hours a day to spend, either idly or productively. As someone said, you have a mind to work or a brain to drain. Whichever you choose to do, it’s up to you. Waste your time or use it wisely. You decide, because you’re in control of your life. 

No one else but you are in charge of your destiny, your future. Because you are the future, the world looks up to you for your idealism and inspiration, and also looks forward to your overall accomplishments and contributions to humanity.

Let’s recap or review what has taken place in your life for years. It’s good to remember so you won’t forget those fond, memorable memories. 

You’ve been to school(s). How many years total? Four, 10, 12 years or more? You were afforded or given the chance or opportunity to get a good, decent education and training. Did you learn something, like various skills, to help you grow and develop to be a useful, productive citizen? Did you use your time to study, to know anything, everything you could possibly learn and acquire (knowledge and skills) while in school? With the help of people around you, your teachers and classmates, friends, family members, school counselors, coaches and volunteers, did you avail yourself of their services and support?

Did you spend some time playing sports, engaging or participating in arts, clubs and sororities/fraternities? How well did you become a part of the team? How well did you do in these extra-curricular activities that made your school known or popular? Did you enjoy and have fun with your colleagues? Or, you were the quiet-type student but diligent and studious? Or, were you the leader who’s always trying to inspire confidence, or a “bully” who always wanted to get attention from your peers? (Sorry, I hate to use the word “bully” because it doesn’t bode well in the realm of education.) 

Besides developing and improving your physical, social and mental health, did you also find time to nourish your spiritual life? Doing a short, simple meditation or praying, maybe? Reading the Bible or listening to a good homily about the good news, during a weekly/Sunday church worship service, perhaps? That is, if you believe in God and know and accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, and Redeemer. If not, don’t worry. 

It’s a good idea, though, to have faith and learn and grow more about it. It may be beneficial to your life, one day, you know. Having faith in the Almighty can inspire you to do good things in life. It may help you be an upright citizen and, thus, motivate you to be more of service to others. It may help you find fulfillment and/or satisfaction in life, you know. 

After years of being in school, a college or university, it’s time to forget those homework or assignments, school projects, benchmarks and rigorous exams. You’ve passed and fulfilled all the requirements needed to complete your studies. You’re ready to attend your commencement exercises, the culminating activity of all the activities in your school life. You’re now a graduate. 

What’s next for you, graduate? Continuing with higher education? Getting employment? Serving in the military? Taking a break from everything?  

Whatever you do, do give your best, without reservation. Do what you have to do to make yourself happy and others, too. And, in all you do, do it for the glory of God. 

Share what you have with others. Your time, treasure, talents, skills, ideas and teamwork, they’re valued and appreciated when you share them, I tell you. 

Pray wherever you are. Give thanks to God always. Remember the Golden Rule and live it always. Try your best to be a part of the solution, not the problem. Your good intentions will guide and serve you well. 

Congratulations and best wishes, class of 2023! May God bless you and your families always.

CHRIS A. QUILPA, a retired U.S. Navy veteran, lives in Suffolk and Chesapeake. Email him at