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Governor to Prescott High grads: ‘Don’t stop. Keep going.’

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey speaks to Prescott High School’s Class of 2016 on May 27.
Photo by Les Stukenberg.

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey speaks to Prescott High School’s Class of 2016 on May 27.

PRESCOTT – Gov. Doug Ducey congratulated the Prescott High School Class of 2016, speaking at commencement ceremonies Friday night, May 27, and urged graduates to take advantage of the opportunities before them.

It was one of two commencement speeches Arizona’s governor made last week, the other was Thursday at ASU Preparatory High School in Tempe.

After his childhood in Toledo, Ohio, Ducey attended Arizona State University, explaining some of his decision to speak there.

As for Prescott, he alluded to the city’s motto: “Everybody’s Hometown.”

“There’s a feeling you get, being in a place like this,” the governor said, “where your neighbors are your friends, and your friends are your family – a place where everybody really does know your name, because your parents went to this school, and their parents, and former student Joe Howard is now Superintendent Joe Howard.”

Ducey outlined some of the changes that took place over the course of PHS graduates’ lives and encouraged them to take advantage of the opportunities before them.

“Whether that includes a four-year college degree or vocational training, military service, elective office, selling ice cream or serving Arizona, attending Prescott High School for the past four years has opened more doors for you that you probably aren’t aware of right now,” he said.

He said in the next few years, many graduates would face a seemingly difficult decision as they select a career path.

“Don’t stop. Keep going,” the governor said. “If you are overwhelmed with choices, you did something right.”

He urged them to dream and think big, “but remember, there is no shame in starting small.”

Ducey said the most important decision graduates can make is to serve others.

“With the help of your teachers, your parents and all that is sacrificed for you, you have all made it to your high school graduation, the first major milestone of many to come,” he said.

“You are going to be handed a diploma – a ticket to the next stage of your life. Earn it.

“Live a life that is worthy of their sacrifice. Live honorably.

“Make a difference. Be the hard worker. Be a leader. Don’t be afraid to fail: As the old adage goes, ‘Failure is not in the falling down, but the staying down.’ Remember your principles. Keep in touch with your teachers. And call and text your parents often.”

The governor reminded graduates to fulfill their civic duties.

“You have the right to speak your mind: Speak it. To believe whatever faith you choose: Believe it. To pursue your American dream: Pursue it,” Ducey said.

Finally, he congratulated graduates on completing their high school careers and wished them success in their future.

“You have the opportunity to be our next greatest generation,” Ducey said. “And your decisions have the power to make history and shape our future. Do it.”

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