As you reach the end of one of your most important and memorable journeys in life, you are embarking on the beginning of another. The milestone you’ve reached has been significant. You have been called to achieve this accomplishment in the face of great loss and sacrifice with a graduation without the usual pomp and ceremony you anticipated. You have been faced with unique challenges that our society has not seen before. And yet, we have all watched you rise to the occasion. As we all try to get through a global pandemic, you will work to fight poverty, inequality, uncertainty, racism and inadequate health care.
We hope you are proud of your accomplishments. You have overcome societal changes unlike any other generation of graduates before you. For individuals on the autism spectrum, your circumstances are uniquely exacerbated by the unprecedented hurdles. Yet, you have persevered with a resolve to achieve your goals, reaching out to assist us all. You can use this energy and diligent determination to build a foundation of strength and perseverance; to forge forward, to realize your goals and help pave the way to a stronger and revitalized future. You are the vision, the hope and the excellence of tomorrow. So have no fear of reaching for greatness, of reaching for your passions and making an impact in our changing world.
As Mark Twain once said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails.”
So, do not dwell on an uncertain harbor, smile as you look for the sun to rise, look out towards the horizon and reach for your goals. You are the captains of your dreams.
We are proud of you, our graduates of 2020!
AANE’s LifeMAP Team