For the 2014 graduates of Blue Ridge School
Graduation is a word from Alchemy,
A heretical art from a dark world,
Searching desperately for light
Inside the man made shadows.
It is connected to a process of refining
Something to a certain degree,
And so we bestow on you now
A certain degree. . .
To a certain degree you are finished. . .
To a certain degree you are a man. . .
To a certain degree you are ready. . .
Because you’ve been processed,
Refined, graded, and now graduated,
But there is one thing we can’t give,
For it is not certain, if it was,
It would be worthless.
Unique, rare, precious, dear,
This is the stuff of value,
And is the stuff of you.
You go now, to live,
And life is not a process,
At least not a certain one,
But one you form for yourself,
So form it, grab it, take it, own it,
No one else has any right to it,
But you, and you are yours.
Fill it with your dreams,
Especially the ones that are uncertain,
For from risk comes real reward,
Stepping outside of the normal,
Outside of the form, into the storm,
The unknown, that undiscovered country.
Be a traveler there, use the name of action,
Fill the certain degree with uncertainty,
For there you will find faith or die,
And there you will become whole,
There will you find yourself,
And there your value will be made complete,
Just in time for the world to need you.
We don’t need processed people,
Refined to a certain degree,
We need men shaped by fire,
Outside of any man made mold,
Breathing, hot, dangerous metal,
More than a tool or a device,
But a created weapon of purpose,
Dangerously perfect for good,
Made on purpose before time began,
Thought of in the infinite,
Born beyond eternity
To walk a path. . . Walk today,
But walk beyond today as well,
And fill life beyond the degrees,
Break the scale, burst out,
Become more, surge forth
To certain, absolute, wholeness,
Rather than living by degrees.
~ Rev. Peter T. Atkinson