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Kennedale
Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Principal tells grads to never turn down a meal from grandmother

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The following is the unedited text of the speech given my Kennedale High School Principal Michael Cagle to the KHS Class of 2018.? This was his first year at the high school but he has known this group of graduates since their 8th grade year at the junior high school.? {{more: continue …}}?
Text of the valedictorian and salutatorian speeches will follow in later post.?
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“The Class of 2018 is special group to me. You were 8th Graders when I arrived in Kennedale ISD 5 years ago as the new Assistant Principal at Kennedale Junior High School. That year, you helped set new standards of excellence in Kennedale ISD. Your academic performance helped the junior high earn 6 Academic Distinctions. The groups that followed you, had much to live up to?and much to strive for. The standards of excellence you established at the junior high have continued to this day. Yes, you set new standards?.And, those standards became tradition.
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This pattern didn?t stop at Kennedale High School. In fact, you will always be remembered as the class that raised the bar?the class that seemed to achieve excellence in everything. You helped establish new programs in our CTE Department. Your graduating class filled our practicums, and this, year, helped us reach our campus goal of obtaining 100 industry certifications, including the district?s first graduates to obtain CNA certifications. You won UIL Academic District Titles 3 of the 4 years you were here. You won team district and state championships in athletics, and many of you have stood on the podium with medals hanging from your necks. Our fine arts programs flourished and grew because of you. You were a top ten band?twice. You sent record numbers of students to state in choir. And, our One Act Play advanced a step further this year. Because of the standards you have set and the mark you have made, the number of students enrolled in our extracurricular programs is rapidly increasing, in fact, our marching band is going to swell to over 180 students next year. Our teams are hungry for victory and championships. Our advanced academic programs and course offerings are expanding. And, because of your success, our district?s leaders are focused on making Kennedale ISD the best public school district in the State. You have proven to everyone that this is possible. As we celebrate tonight, we can all say, ?It?s a great day to be Wildcat!?

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Before I step down from the podium, tonight, I want offer the Class of 2018 some words of wisdom. I don?t have any motivational quotes for you. I haven?t included anything I think will just fade through the years. None of that would be relevant. And, that just wouldn?t be my style. I want to be real with you for moment, just like I always have. I want to offer you 5 important lessons that I have learned in my own life?sometimes the hard way. I call this list ?Cagle?s Final Countdown.?
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5. Never stop challenging yourself. Whether its climbing the highest mountain?Running that seemingly impossible marathon?Getting that advanced degree? Or, taking a business risk. Always keep reaching higher. Always push further. Never stop challenging yourself. For even if you fail?you will always find yourself stronger, wiser, and, richer?even if you become richer because of the experiences you gain rather than from the monetary return. The day you stop challenging yourself is the day you stop living.
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4. Never turn down a meal from your grandmother. I don?t even know if I need to explain this one. No one cooks like her. No one. Especially if your grandmother is from the South. If your grandmother is from the north?I bet it?s still good. But?on a more serious note, graduates you have the gift of youth. But heed my warning, time moves quickly. One day your grandmother won?t be able to hold that heavy, cast iron skillet. Your grandparents will not be around forever. Cherish the time you get to spend with them and actively seek their wisdom. All the things you learn in life do not come from a book and are not taught in college. Pay close attention to their patience, their unwavering love, and their willingness to put everything aside to help someone in need.

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3. Never become a slave to debt. College is expensive. Homes are expensive. Cars are expensive. And, credit cards are easy to get. Resist the urge to pile up debt. Resist the credit card offers in the mail. And, be frugal. If you are not, many of you will find yourselves loaded down with debt by the time you are in your mid-twenties, and you will find yourself spending the next 25 years paying large portions of your paychecks to banks and other debtors. Debt will cripple you. Debt will immobilize you. Debt will keep your from following your dreams. If you can spend within your means, you will find a worry-free life where the possibilities are endless. And, you will have the freedom to move about and grasp opportunities when they arise.
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2. Never forget where you came from. You come from a community and a school with high expectations. Never forget that. You are expected to be of high moral character. You are expected to strive for success. You are expected to take care of one another. You come from a community where people still fill the stands at ball games and our religious institutions on the weekend. You come from a community and school that celebrate diversity and are more successful because of it. You are from Kennedale, and you are a Wildcat. Never forget where you came from, and the values you?ve learned here. There is no place in the world like Kennedale, Texas. And, remember, there is, truly, no place like home.
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1. Never stop thanking your parents for where you are today. I have met most of the parents in this audience tonight. I?ve seen them at your band concerts, games, and events late at night after a hard day?s work. I?ve seen them celebrate your victories?. and I?ve seen them wipe away your tears. I know many of their stories. I know the sacrifices that they have made and the challenges they have endured to get you to this point. You will all soon find out that there is no manual for parenting. Your parents have done the best they could for you. I know some of the parents in this audience left their home countries to give some of you a better life. I know some of the parents in this audience work multiple jobs to put roofs over your heads. Remember, graduates, you are here today because of your parents. And, now, you have the world at your fingertips. What a gift they have given you? What you do from here?is up to you.
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In closing, the most important piece of wisdom or advice that I am going to give you tonight is this: Although you don?t realize it now?.you will need your parents more in the next five years than you ever have needed them before in your life???.And, just as importantly?.your parents will need you more in the next five years than they have ever needed you before.
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Class of 2018, enjoy this moment with your families. Hug your parents. Be nice to your younger siblings. And?..Eat at grandmas.
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Good night, and good luck!”

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