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Superintendent’s Message to the Class of 2021: Finish Strong

Superintendent’s Message to the Class of 2021: Finish Strong

Dear CCSD Family,

The message below is to our graduating Class of 2021 seniors.  I am sharing it with all of you, as they are the future of our community.  You can see each of their names posted on our website at

Dear Class of 2021,

The finish line is in sight.

When you took your first step in this marathon, as a preschooler or a kindergartner, you didn’t know what was ahead of you on the path.  

Your parents knew the challenges ahead, which is why we always have plenty of tissues on hand for the parents of littles on the first day of school.  Your first teachers knew, which is why they patiently encouraged you to try, try and try again, whether it was learning to read, counting to 100 or mending a friendship.

You didn’t know the challenges ahead, but you and your parents trusted us – your teachers, your coaches, your counselors, your cheerleaders – as we ran alongside you all of these years, helping you up when you fell and encouraging you to keep going.  Even a long-distance runner needs a team – and we’re on your team.    

None of us knew how hard this final mile would be, as a global pandemic threw up hurdles at every turn: school closings, quarantines, cancellations.  But you carried on, as we did as your team, and we endured this past year together to successfully reach this finish line.     

I love to run – whether it’s miles on the treadmill, charitable 5Ks in our community, or longer treks for St. Jude’s.  A few years ago, I switched gears and celebrated a milestone birthday by climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest free-standing mountain in the world.  

Like a marathon, scaling this mountain is not an easy task, and all who attempt the climb do not make it.  You need a team: to help you train, to guide you on the path, to cheer you on from afar.  The first step you take on the mountain isn’t hard physically – it’s all about courage.  The path up the mountain is arduous, as you tire and the air thins, but your team guides you up to the pinnacle.  

The mountaintop feels like a finish line, as it comes with a breathtaking view as a reward, but it’s only halfway.  You still must make it back down the mountain, despite being tired from your ascent.  And that last step off the mountain truly is the most important – as you finish strong … and look ahead to the next challenge.

Graduation is a finish line, and it comes with the celebration of commencement and the reward of accomplishment, but it’s not even halfway up the mountain you’ll climb in your lifetime.  And there are even greater views ahead.

Some of you chose to continue your education at colleges and universities.  Some of you chose to serve our great country in the military.  Some of you chose to begin your careers as skilled professionals.  

No matter what path you chose: set your next finish line, form your team, take that first step -- and finish strong.

You are our community’s future, and you are our world’s future.  We all played our roles on your team to ensure you learned not only academic knowledge, but also lessons in courage, friendship, team work and endurance.  

We helped you to this finish line because we believe in you.  Now show us all that you can do.    

With much appreciation and admiration,

Dr. Brian V. Hightower
Superintendent of Schools

See your names posted on our website at

#2021CCSDGrads #CCSDfam