In celebration of 2020 graduating seniors, Academy Award-winning costume designer and Boys & Girls Clubs of America alumna, Ruth Carter, addresses the graduating class.
As a 12 year old, I remember the Club. It was a safe place for me to run to. I found it to be my home away from home. And I know, for many of you, the Boys & Girls Club was there to protect you as well, to help you stay out of trouble, decompress, and nurture the things that you do well. It’s still here for you. I bet none of you imagined a graduation like this one.
You’re here to fulfill your dream because your Club believes in you. They gave you the greatest gift money can’t buy, and that is belief in yourself to accomplish great things. Your Club believes you can change the world and because of that, you believe you can, too.
Life is full of strange events, and the only way to make the best of them is to change our mindset and perspective around it.
The great Toni Morrison once said, ‘You don’t have complete control over the narrative. The theme you choose may change but being your own story, you can always change the tone.’
Let's change your story from grief, for having lost a graduation, to excitement because we gained an experience that tests our resilience and ignites our belief that we can get past hardships. People may forget previous graduations, but no one is going to forget what happened at the virtual graduation. You are the first graduation class to lead us into this new world order, so let’s call this our “Superheroes Virtual Graduation.”
My gift to you is to imagine yourself as your own superhero.
Imagine you’re putting on your Dora Milaje costume and think to yourself, “I am strong and I can protect and defend this world.”
Adorn your Shuri costume and think, “I am smart and I can transform the world.’
Step into your Black Panther costume and think, ‘I am royalty. I can lead this world.’
Things you dream of do come true, but the journey you take to see them come true is filled with ups and downs. To bring anything great into your life, envision that it’s already there. You’re a Superhero Graduate today and I cannot wait to see what you can do.”
Graduation may look different this year, but it is not cancelled for all the Club seniors who’ve beaten the odds to get here. As we continue to help make graduation possible for more kids, help celebrate this year’s graduates by signing their graduation card.