Thursday, February 22, 2024

Gift of wisdom for class of '22

| June 1, 2022 1:00 AM

Spokane hometown boy Mark Rypien defied the odds to play in the NFL via WSU. In 1992, he was named Super Bowl MVP, the pinnacle of success. In 1999, Mark was scheduled to give the commencement speech for Post Falls’ New Vision High School graduation. At the last minute, he had to cancel. I received a call from the principal asking if I could fill in. That marked the first and only time that I’ve backed up an NFL quarterback or given a commencement address.

It’s a safe bet that the Class of '99 cannot recall the pearls of wisdom I dispensed or even who gave the address. I do remember saying that if any adult has told them that high school was the best years of their lives, they’d been lied to. The best years were to come and that their definition of “best” would evolve in the future. Not surprisingly I also urged them to read their community newspaper regularly.

Over the next week or two, the Class of 2022 in our communities will take the long-awaited ceremonial walk across high school stages to receive their diplomas. They’ve already endured and triumphed in high school years that coined new phrases and ways of learning remotely. This class has come out to the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, having learned an important lesson already, the value of the pivot. It will serve them well.

I’ve compiled the world’s largest commencement address roster for the Class of '22, they deserve nothing less than wisdom from my own eclectic village of really smart, successful and resilient givers, doers and over-comers.

Colleen Van Winkle, '69: You will learn much more from the things that go wrong in your life than from the things that go right. Be open to the experience and have faith that even though it may take a while, things generally work out for the best.

Blair Williams, '85: If life teaches us anything, it’s that this lifetime should be filled with love and compassion for one another and the planet. Go forth and find passion in everything you try and do. Whatever you chose to do on this planet (work, volunteer, family or community) come to it with love, compassion, understanding and passion.

Bruce Twitchell, '94: When teaching I always told my students to make as many connections as they can. Become friends with as many people as you can. You truly never know when and where “knowing someone” will be a benefit. Getting a job, traveling, buying something …

Bill Kaufman, '56: Always be the best that you can be. Serve others and don't expect to be served. Make the world a better place for the past, the present and future generations.

Tracie Olin, '71: Listen to your heart while employing your brain. Align your activities with your passion to succeed. Be steadfast in reaching your goals. To thine own self be true … always.

Cassidy Bones, 2012: If you look at the world as if everyone is doing the best they can with the information and resources they have, you'll be a whole lot happier and light years better at problem solving.

Bryan Bledsoe, '65: In everything you do, always do it in a way that you are proud to put your good name to it.

Sarah Andrews, '96: Move away from here, see the rest of the world and get out of this tiny town bubble. There's a lot of cool stuff and cool people and much more opportunity (and higher pay) elsewhere!

Mary Richter, '93: Don't be afraid to fail. You will miss out on many experiences in life if you always take the easiest path.

Suzanna Spencer, '83: Work hard, play hard and volunteer in your community for something you are passionate about! Smile, be kind and say thank you. Life isn't always easy but the tough spots are always doable with God on your side. You got this!

Patrick McGaughey, '70: If you don't know what you want to be when you grow up, major in business next year because ultimately, everything requires a business mind for success. If you can't handle business, you can't handle success.

LaDonna Beaumont, '88: Don’t put anyone else in charge of your dreams, your career or your life. You are capable of more than you think. Way more.

Cheryl Kosanke, '79: Like the song says "always wear sunscreen."

Russell Heistuman, '82: Congratulations on making it through the wackiest four years in American high school history. You are now prepared to face more full-on wackiness in the years to come with the Last Full Measure. We’re handing you a mess and we expect you to clean it up!

Renee Lusby, '73: You can be successful if you apply yourself to whatever you want to accomplish. Being patient will get you somewhere, being impatient will get you nowhere. Always show up for work early, pay attention to directions and you'll go far.

Dee Sasse, '80: You are embarking on a new adventure in your life. This is only the first step of many. It is your life. Make good choices. You are responsible for your actions, no one else to blame or praise. It's up to you. If your ship does not come in, swim out to it.

Sherry Mundt, '75: Make sure that you are passionate about whatever career path you choose so it won’t feel like work and you will look forward to every day. It should never be about the money.

Amy Boni, '92: Be kind to people ... give yourself and those you meet grace ... Have fun!

Leave it to my witty longtime friend from Coeur d’Alene High School Class of 1970, a retired orthopedic surgeon, to prompt me to Google translate his sage advice ...

Thomas Hunter Thompson, '70: Illegitimi non carborundum!

And giving my wise friend Mary the final Main Street words of advice for the Class of 2022 ...

Mary Larson, '79: Look around this room, across the aisle, in front of you, behind you, next to you. Be grateful for these people because this group, these friends, and foes, will be the ones you meet on the street to share a memory, will see at church, at reunions, on Facebook (or whatever social media becomes 30 years from now) and they are your people ... the ones who ground you and remind you of your roots ... nothing grows strong without healthy roots.

Post Script: To the parents whose graduating seniors are their youngest child ... it’s not an empty nest until they’re taken all of their belongings out of the basement.

Happy Main Street first day of June birthdays today to Sandy Shopbell, Dave Stutzke, Shannon Coles, Debbie Costa, Patrick Booth, Drake Foster, Mason Alexander, Tresa Brown and Vicki White. Tomorrow Al Williams, Mike and Mitch Alexander, Nancy Mueller, Brenda Walters, Irene Seidler and Nels Jensen whoop it up. On Friday JoAnn Nelson, Mitch Heid, Scott Osburn, Matthew Huthinson, Kathy Larson, Devin Weeks, Sharon Timmons, Susan Mensching and Matt Boseth hope for sunshiny celebrations. On Saturday Natalie Wyant, Lynsie Odd, Jay Sadler, Kirk Dady, Jessica Downs Anundson and Nikki Downs have their cake and eat it, too. Alec Steele, Evelyn Bevacqua Howe, Harold Appleby, Jr., Joel Semanko, Helen Elder, Dale Rounsville, Ron Hodge and JaNee Newby take another trip around the sun on Sunday. Wendy English, Don Bradway, Dallas Dixon, DeDe Tondee and Kim Normand put on their party hats on Monday. June 7 is the birthdate of my better half and best friend Bert Thoreson along with John Hough, Brad Corkill, Rick Alden and Susan Lewis.

Kerri Rankin Thoreson is a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the former publisher of the Post Falls Tribune. Main Street appears every Wednesday in The Press and Kerri can be contacted on Facebook or via email Follow her on Twitter @kerrithoreson.