I am Dr. Chao Wu from Board of Education. It is a great honor to have this opportunity to congratulate you, our high school seniors, graduating at this un’’precedented time in our history. Many years later when we look back together, we will be proud of ourselves exemplying resilience and compassion, at this moment.
Last year, I talked about embracing changes in my graduation speech. This year, we have been confronted with a change, an un’’precedented change. We are in a lockdown. We are having a virtual graduation celebration. We have a new norm. We are recovering slowly, yet steadily.
There is a great proverb: what hits us and does not strike us down will make us stronger. Many of us witnessed the 2008 great recession because of the financial crisis. We survived and thrived. Now, we are experiencing a global pandemic. The pandemic will not deter us; instead, we will, yet again, define our own path with determination! (raise hand)
There will be many unknowns, especially in the short time horizon. There will be challenges, visible and invisible. We must, we will, and we can, prepare ourselves with knowledge, passion and compassion.
I am grateful and hopeful that HCPSS has taught you those skills, to prepare for your future, a bright future. Along the road, you will continue to have friends, families and community to support you. Please always be hopeful and thankful.
Your future is our nation’s future.
At this time, please join me in honoring the Class of 2020 as we now recognize each of our graduates.
River Hill (Wednesday, 5/29/2019, 7:00PM-9:00)/ Mount Hebron (Thursday, 5/30)
By Dr. Chao Wu
It is a great honor to speak with you, our seniors. You will soon fly around the world to find your passion, work on your dream and enjoy a new chapter of your life. I would like to encourage you to “embrace the change”.
As one of the great ancient Chinese philosophers, Lao Zi in Taode Jing, 2400 years ago, wrote:
Dao that can be talked about is not the eternal Dao itself; A name that can be given is not the eternal thing itself.
I am extending a little bit here: you today will not be the same you tomorrow. Change always happens.
My life has been full of changes.
I did not have a high-school graduation ceremony, neither did some of the parents here. When I was in high school, our main purpose was to work hard and to get into college because there were very few other opportunities. At that time, there were only 30% or less high school graduates who can go to a college.
Then I received a really great score from the three-day college entrance exam and entered one of the best universities in China. It opened the door to me for many more opportunities. Later I went to Singapore and then came to University of Maryland. Then I settled in Howard County and ran for the school board in 2018. With a dedicated campaign, I won a seat on the school board eventually.
In my life, I have been working really hard and preparing for the opportunities when it becomes available. There is no other way around since I came from a very humble, unprivileged family. I kept moving forward, and adapted myself to the three different societies that are quite different in culture, economic and political environments.
I strive to be the better of myself.
Change is permanent in our lives. Embrace the change.
The same for you, our proud and young graduates. Your new chapter of life will be different. You will not be under your parent’s radar any more. You will face never-ending changes and encounter differences in all spectrums. You will have countless opportunities to shape your own future.
The world is so big. You will be like a water drop in the ocean. However, please don’t forget your High School friends. Remember: your classmates next to you, may be your colleagues or even start-up co-founders. Can you have a hug with them now?
Embrace the change and follow by action
Embrace the change, understand the challenge and lead by action, not just words. Trust me, your future will be mainly decided by your own action.
The society is changing so much in recent years which is driven by the societal, economic and political landscapes not only in this country, but across the globe.
You are not immune to this change. For example, Artificial Intelligence will remove many repetitive, and non-challenging jobs. The call center and online service centers have been downsized dramatically. We need to educate and inform ourselves to avoid the risk going in this type of industry that is soon obsolete.
So invest yourself in the areas which require creativity and passion. Make sure those jobs will not be easily displaced by robot and AI.
Please take care of yourself, find new friends, and pursue the purpose of the life. It can be long. It can be complicated. It can have set-backs. However, never ever lose hope and call home often for support.
Finally, congratulations. The New World is waiting for you!
Photo credit to Deb Jung, Howard County Council Member District Four.