Building Dreams in Shenzhen

Note: I originally gave this speech at the graduation ceremony this past June and repeated it to welcome the new Grade 10 students to Maple Leaf International Academy this month.  

The Dream

Everyone has a dream.  The most famous speech in the history of the world was even called, “I have a dream!”  Graduation ceremonies at any grade level are about dreams of many kinds.  Dreams of summer, dreams of the next level of school, or dreams of future accomplishments.

When I was young, my dreams were about becoming a professional athlete in Canadian (or what the Americans call, “American”) Football.  Realizing my dream was all I could think about, and every decision I made was about becoming a star athlete and becoming famous.  I exercised and practiced and sacrificed time with friends doing other fun things so that I could realize my dream.  While I did play football for a while at the university level, I never DID actually attain my dream of becoming a professional athlete.  Does that mean that my dream was a failure because I didn’t fully accomplish it?  I would say to you that the answer to that question is “No.”

A famous American basketball coach once said, “Don’t give up on your dreams, or your dreams will give up on you.” John Wooden.

Dreams are important because we need to be driven by a goal in order to accomplish something important.  My dream took me to university, where the most important thing I received was an education which led me to becoming a teacher, a school Principal and eventually is what brought me here to China to this wonderful school.  If I didn’t have this dream, I may not have accomplished these other things in my life.

Another quote is, “You have to dream before your dreams can come true,”  A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

Everything that you will accomplish in life in one way or another comes about because of a dream that you have had. What then is your dream?  If you don’t have a dream, you need to get one.  Whether or not it becomes true is beside the point.  People might tell you your dream is foolish, but you need to hang on and pursue your dream because you never know where it will take you and what other paths you will take because of your dreams.

One of the reasons that Maple Leaf exists is to give students an opportunity to attend their dream university.  This step that you have taken today is one step along that path and as over 12 000 other students have experienced, getting your education is usually the first step in helping you dream.  Work hard to achieve your academic and educational goals, it is the first step toward reaching your dreams in life.

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