On Sunday, 113 students of the Class of 2022 – Mount Desert Island’s best and brightest – took the stage to receive their high school diplomas in a ceremony that felt more normal than the last two hybrid and socially-distanced events.
You did it! Congratulations for reaching the finish line.
You are heading out into one of the hottest job markets in recent history. In fact, employers are looking to hire more than 30 percent more graduates this year than last, finds a recently released report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. At that rate, you will have your pick.
With unemployment at an all-time low and more than 11.4 million jobs openings across the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, strong starting salaries and attractive job offers are likely in your immediate future. Employers are anxious to meet you.
And, by all measures, you deserve it. The last few years have been challenging. You have ridden the COVID-19 roller coaster through the pinnacle days of your high school careers. It has no doubt been disappointing, with many ups and downs, but you have risen to the occasion. While it is impossible to predict when all pandemic restrictions will be lifted and a return to normalcy will be fully realized, we grow one step closer each day.
To all the graduates who put in the work to make it to this stage, and to the families and school staff who supported them, we salute you. No celebration can fully recognize what you have accomplished.
Graduates, as you flip that tassel and head into the world, know that your perseverance will help you along the way. There is an adage about making lemonade when life gives you lemons. Well, Class of 2022, while life might be a bit sour still, there is sweetness to be found.
As one chapter in your life closes, know that another one awaits. Make it yours. You are responsible for your own story.
Go out there and do great things. Be kind and respectful. Find work that gives you meaning and create a life that is full of all the things that matter.