Right now across Central Washington, caps and gowns are being handed out, well wishes prepared and parties are being planned, as students get ready for graduation. I want to take a moment to recognize the Class of 2013 and congratulate them for their achievements.
Graduation is a day to celebrate the personal struggles that have been overcome, goals that have been reached and the challenges that lie ahead. It's truly a rewarding and exciting time for graduates and their families.
To the Class of 2013, you are entering a world that holds tremendous opportunities. However, it's up to you to take advantage of them - to step forward and actively use your talents and intellect to better our great state and the community in which you live.
The progress and successes of tomorrow will result from your creativity, your commitment, your energy and your compassion to make a difference. Imagine the return you will get on the investment of your time and hard work.
Not only will your efforts create a better world for you, your children and grandchildren to live in, you will feel rewarded in knowing that you had a part in their success. Just as those friends, teachers and family members who have helped you reach where you are today, you will make an impact on others' too, if you accept the challenge.
From high unemployment and a record national debt to the threat of those that hate our very way of life, there is no question that you are inheriting an uncertain world.
However, I firmly believe that the Class of 2013 holds the key to creating a better future for our state and nation. America is relying on you to move us forward in the 21st century, and I encourage you to face those challenges with strength and determination.
So, to all of the graduates in Washington state, congratulations. Obtaining your diploma is a significant achievement and a gratifying experience that you will remember for years to come. Be proud of yourself. There's no question your family, friends and teachers are proud of your accomplishments.
In the wise words of Dr. Seuss, "You're off to great places. Today is your day. Your mountain is waiting. So...get on your way!"
I wish you the best of luck as you go out into the world and follow your dreams.
- U.S. Congressman Doc Hastings (R-Pasco) represents Central Washington's
Fourth Congressional District.