Dear SHS Class of 2021”

We want to welcome you to a pretty exclusive group. This year, you join a fine group of people fondly known as Saline High School alumni. You are set to begin your journey as we enter the sixth decade of ours. Though we have never met most of you, we want you to know that we have learned some things along our journey that we want to share with you, in the hopes that you can enjoy your lives the way that we have enjoyed ours.

One thing about the Class of ’71 is that we grew up in turbulent times but still were able to form close friendships along the way. Many of us did not all know each other while in high school but are making friendships after fifty years. Many of these friendships, while developed later in life, form a fabric of mutual support that is essential as we face the many challenges that come as we grow older. There is a verse in an old classic by the group Alabama that best describes our bond.

“When life held troubled times, and had me down on my knees

There’s always been someone, to come along and comfort me

A kind word from a stranger, to lend a helping hand

A phone call from a friend, just to say I understand

Now ain’t it kind of funny, at the dark end of the road

Someone lights the way with just a single ray of hope.”

As the sign reads in the commons area at Saline High School, “ONCE A HORNET, ALWAYS A HORNET”, we will always be a Hornet, like you.

We have found that each of us has been guided by key life lessons learned through living. We give these to you at the start of your journey in the belief that someday they might provide you a ray of hope should you ever find yourself at the dark end of the road.

The Class of 1971:

Jane (Steiner) Berasley:

My advice to the class of 2021 is to seek God first in your life. Discover what brings you joy and pursue that passionately. Dream big and have a wide variety of life experiences.

Keith Camburn: I’ll give them the same advice I gave my students, follow your passion, behave yourself and enjoy your life, it goes by very quickly.

Leslie (Thomas) Carlson:

Give others the benefit of the doubt, you will appreciate it when you need it yourself

  • Life can be messy - build confidence in yourself so you can rely on your own inner resilience
  • Don’t take friendships and relationships for granted
  • Finally – eat right, exercise body and brain, get sleep, wear sunscreen, be nice!
  • Find what brings you joy and do that
  • Perspective will change over time – find your balance between striving and being at peace with what is
  • Life will fly by, say yes to adventures, new experiences and ways to give back
  • You will mistakes – lots of them – learn the lessons and move on
  • Pay attention to what serves you well and what you need to let go of, be yourself, be present
  • Be grateful – appreciate the blessings along the way
  • Give others the benefit of the doubt, you will appreciate it when you need it
  • Find what brings you joy – and do that.

Sue (Wackenhut) Collins:

For the class of 2021 I would say "follow your passion".

David Martin:

This is my advice to the Class of 2021 or 2022 or any future high school class. Keep learning, it’s inevitable and you will be grateful for it. I’m not just talking about schooling; I’m urging you to watch, to listen and to gain insight. Some of you may be cocky and think you know everything but you don’t. Listen well, not only to what others are saying, but to understand what you are saying to others. Talk to your elders, your parents, your aunts and uncles, your grandparents. Ask them questions that only they can answer, for you never know when they will be gone. Life is full of missed opportunities. Try to keep yours to a minimum. Show empathy, we are all in this together; let’s not make it more difficult to simply exist. Be happy in whatever you do, create happiness for others. It truly is better to give than receive. If you have a chance, travel to somewhere you have never been; see new things and learn to understand different cultures. Above all, at the end of the day, be satisfied with what you have done.

Jean (Herter) Martin:

Life seems to move so fast these days. Slow down, find a quiet place once in a while. Walk with God and seek your answers from him.

Charlie Plummer:

What ever you do follow your dreams, be true to yourself and Love
that special one

Katherine (Kathie Johnston) Ramsland:

The advice I offer is my own life theme: Take risks! Being told ‘no’ is better than losing an opportunity you might get if you ask. Let no one discourage you.

Steve Sheldon:

I hope some teacher told the Class of 2021 what Mr. Thibault and Mr. Schwartz told me during my final year. They both repeated two messages that resonate with me fifty years later.

Message #1:

“You can do it.” Simple yet powerful. Two men who meant the world to me both believed that I could do it. And as it turned out, after some fumbling around, they were correct. I could do it. So, no matter what you newest members of the group fondly known as SHS Alumni might believe, take it from me, dreams will die if they are not nurtured. Don’t let that happen. No matter what, don’t ever give up.

Message #2:

“You will be a lifelong learner”. And they were right. I love learning. Even at my mature age now, I try to learn something new every day. Remember, you can do it, so use the most precious God-given gift you have, your brain. Use it every day.

Message #3:

This message comes from my heart to each of you. It was the best advice I was ever given, and I offer it to you in the hope it will help guide you as it has helped me. It comes from the book “Remember Who You Are” by Daisy Wademan. In that book there is a chapter called “The Stuffed Bird”. The book includes personal stories by Harvard Business School professors that they share with their students every term. This is a story about a final exam when the professor took a zoology course about the study of birds. In the exam room the prof wheeled in a cart with something on it covered by a sheet. You could see some head feathers, some tail feathers, part of a wing and one foot. The students needed to write as much as they could about the bird from what they could see. His message to students:

“As you move forward in your career, you will face many situations offering great promise and opportunity with little certainty about how to proceed. When that happens, you will need courage and faith—faith in your own talents, faith in the talents of your business partners, faith in the potential for innovation, and faith in the possibilities for the world.

My strong admonition to you is simple, HAVE SUCH FAITH IN YOURSELF. Don’t squander the moments of great opportunity for fear of making the wrong decision. Don’t miss the chance to make a difference in the world because of the comfort of inaction. Ignore the noise and turn off the hype. Have the courage to forge ahead. Listen to your passions. Consult your own internal compass. Think about yourself and about the human condition. And then do something truly great.”

Marilyn (Leonard) Vanover:

Walk with God in ALL things—He will not disappoint.

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