Best of luck to the Class of 2016
Everywhere you look this time of year, you see reminders we are in the midst of graduation season.
I even made the trek to one of these time-honored events to watch my niece cross the stage and receive her diploma.
For those who will hear their names called, congratulations. This year's senior classes of athletes allowed me to cover 24 conference titles, 19 district championships, four state championships and a host of playoff games and memorable regular-season games.
Earning a diploma shows, at the very least, you are able to see something through to the end.
I remember some advice I was given when I graduated that has guided my life ever since. Graduation is not an ending, but a beginning. Don't let the highlights of your life be the events that occurred during your prep years.
Open your mind to different possibilities and paths. What you want to be today may not be what you are truly great at achieving.
Do not let the pursuit of money be your sole source of happiness. The greatest things in life are free.
Remember your roots. You may never come home, but you will always be from your hometown. Everything you earn, achieve and become will be built upon a foundation provided by the town, family and school.
The first semester of college is the toughest. The school won't call your parents if you cut class, but they will care if you don't pay the bill.
Always give 100 percent. Don't settle for 99.9 percent. If 99.9 percent was good enough: Two million documents would be lost by the IRS this year, 22,000 checks would be deducted from the wrong bank accounts in the next 60 minutes, 1,314 phone calls would be misplaced by telecommunication services every minute, 12 babies would be given to the wrong parents each day and 268,500 defective tires would be shipped this year.
Finally, when you show up to your first semester of college, please remove the tassel from your rear view mirror -- you are no longer in high school.
Jared Lankford is the sports editor of the cassville Democrat. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 417-847-2610.