Each month, Dr. Zorn reaches out to our business community via the Kelso Longview Chamber of Commerce newsletter with information about the successes and challenges of our public schools.

Last month, Longview high schools graduated 437 seniors in front of proud family members and friends. It was my honor to address the crowds gathered on Saturday, June 16 at Longview Memorial Stadium for Mark Morris and R. A. Long high schools commencement ceremonies. Exercises for our Discovery High School students were held Tuesday, June 12 at the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts. I am incredibly proud of all of our students and staff and would like to share the message that I shared at this year’s graduation ceremonies.

On behalf of the Longview Public Schools, I’d like to welcome each of you to this graduation ceremony.  This is an incredibly important day for our students.  Their high school graduation is their first step into a bright and boundless future.  Thank you for all that each of you have done to support them in this accomplishment.

As I reflect upon the world our students will enter, I would describe it as a place of challenge, discord, beauty, and incredible joy.  I challenge our graduates to enter this world ready to persevere through the challenges, engage respectfully with whom you might disagree, revel in the beauty that surrounds, and seek the joy that can be found.

Beauty and Joy are everywhere but are often veiled by the challenges faced, and the conflict experienced in our daily lives.  Breaking through this veil requires a steadfast commitment to actively seek and purposefully choose to find the beauty and joy of life.

Beauty can be found in the family and friends held dear, in the forests and water that surrounds, in the music heard, in the gardens planted, in the friendships made, or in the art created.

Joy can be found in the skip of a happy child, in the sunlight on our backs, in the sound of the rain on the roof on a cold winter night, in the smile of a friend.  It can be found in the exhaustion that comes from a hard and honest day’s work, in the love of a family, in the books read, in the lessons learned, or in the relationships created.

Through a focus upon persevering through challenges, engaging respectfully, reveling in beauty, and seeking joy, the promise that this world holds can be realized.

I challenge each graduate to remain steadfast in your resolve, apply the lessons you have learned, and remain open to the beauty and joy that surrounds you.  Today, enjoy your celebrations, embrace the love you share, and accept the adulation that comes from the achievement and perseverance that is represented by the high school diploma you have earned.  As you move on, a beautiful and joyful world awaits if you simply step into that world with a willing desire to seek and find the beauty and joy that is abundantly present.

Good luck and please be safe this weekend.  Thank you.