1. Eke wo. Greetings to the leadership, educators, parents, students.
  2. Tonight is a night to celebrate a year of hard work. Congratulations on the work you have done.
  3. Tonight is also a night to look ahead with anticipation at being in a new class, of learning new things and furthering your education.
  4. On entering Upward Bound you committed yourself to a path that leads to a college education and a four-year degree.
  5. Kom mukul fwasr, mutacn fwasr. You are young and at times school is not just hard work, it can be boring.
  6. Yet you will be judged for the rest of your life based on what you do during the next few years in school.
  7. I have worked in many fields, and the first thing someone who hires me wants to know is my education. My education was more years ago than you have been alive, yet it remains that which defines my career options.
  8. Now I sit on hiring committees. The first thing we do is to reject those applicants who lack the required education.
  9. Look around you, at the leaders and parents with you today. They too have been evaluated at one time or another based on their education. While an education is a lifelong endeavor, these years of yours are the most important.
  10. Who you are and who you can be will be constrained in part by your education during the next few years. Messing up now or during the next couple years can affect the rest of your life.
  11. The good news is that once you gain your education, no one can take it away. You can lose a car, a house, a job, but not your education. No one can ever take that away from you.
  12. When you are young, your education is essential to getting into the kind of work you want to do in life - being an engineer, an accountant, a counselor, a professional in any one of a number of fields.
  13. When you are middle aged your education will be a foundation on which you will build the specialized knowledge that will make you a leading expert in your field.
  14. There is one other role your education will play that is rarely mentioned amidst all the talk of careers. In later years your education is an antidote to boredom. The more you learn, the more areas you will understand and can converse upon.
  15. Ahead of you will be teachers and classes that you like and others that you dislike. The true measure of your ability is to achieve in classes you do not like. Anyone can get a good grade from a teacher or class that they like.
  16. When I ran from Malem to Tafunsak last week it was not a measure of my physical ability. Anyone can run with the proper fitness. The hard part of a long run is the mental part: to keep running when your mind says stop.
  17. The same is true of a class you dislike: the hard part is the mental part, to learn and to achieve high marks even when your mind says 'macnsis, nga ke monglac.'
  18. Mwet monglac. Be mentally tough. Work hard in the coming year. Stay focused on your goal. Tell yourself, "I can do it." Kampare.