COLLEGE PARK, Md.
On June 1st, at 1:30pm, Board of Education Member K. Alexander Wallace, District 7, will deliver remarks on behalf of the Board of Education of Prince George's County to the 2017 graduates of his alma mater, Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. High School and gathered audience on the campus of the University of Maryland, College Park.
Below are the prepared remarks for the commencement ceremony.
What is your greatest fear?
Perhaps you are still afraid of the dark?
I know I cannot not the only one who, as a child, frantically ran upstairs after turning the lights off downstairs, afraid of something sneaking up behind you.
Anyone afraid of heights, like me? Rollercoasters, skyscrapers, airplanes.
In my opinion, humans were not given wings for a reason!
I am deathly afraid of heights and yet for my job, I have to get on airplanes and travel across the nation nearly every other month.
Despite my deeply rooted fear of not having my two feet planted firmly on the ground, I always find myself choosing a window seat on the plane, that way I can stare out the window, 30,000 feet in the air, and face my fears head on…as I embark on my destination.
No matter how hard it gets, sitting there on those planes, hearing the roaring engines and feeling the plane go through turbulence at 500 MPH, whatever awaits me at my destination has been and forever will be worth more to me than the fears that accompany me on my journey.
That's my message to each of you all today, and I do not just mean these hundreds of eager and excited graduates, patiently waiting to turn their tassels - but to everyone in this arena - do not let your fears hold you back from reaching your destiny.
All of the best things in life are waiting for you just on the other side of fear.
Some of us fear risk. You might have an amazing idea for a new invention or program that can save the lives of millions, but because you do not know the outcome of your risk before you make it, your idea goes untapped.
Many of us fear rejection. Some of us would rather conform to the norms of society, or not push our communities to be better, out of the sake of being polite or popular instead of going out on our own, challenging the status quo of society, traveling the road less traveled, and demanding progression and perhaps even failing to succeed on the first try.
It is no secret that, in each of our lives, once or twice, we all have let our fear, not our faith, be our moral compass …our life’s mantra…that determines our destiny in life, our thoughts and actions – what we say and how its said.
Fear keeps dreams as dreams, instead of goals.
Fear keeps losses as losses, instead of lessons.
Fear keeps outcry as outcry, instead of outcomes.
Fear blinds us from seeing ultimate successes through immediate failures.
Fear has cheated, robbed, and destroyed the development of so many of our destinies and destinations.
And yet, despite all this, the silver lining in having fear in your life is that, through strength, purpose, determination, and a little support, fear can be conquered.
So whether it is going up to your neighborhood bank and taking out a loan to start that small business;
Speaking up during a class because you challenge the thoughts and comments of a professor;
Demanding that your community become more civically engaged instead of always waiting for change to come;
Or even standing up to authority figures and politicians who refuse to fight to correct the injustices in our society,
Make it clear to yourself and those in your life that fear has no place on the road to your destination.
I am not saying that your path forward will not be difficult. Just like flights on a plane, there will certainly be turbulence along the way. Just remember that no matter whatever your fear may be...no matter what you think is going to hold you back…your destiny will always be much greater than your fear.
No more fear…
No more fear.
No more fear!