Congratulations to the Class of 2021!

Posted on June 07, 2021

I’m Secretary of Education Tiffany Sanderson. I oversee South Dakota’s K-12 education system and cheer our students on from before they learn to read through big milestones like completing high school.

Congratulations, graduates!

As you walk across the stage and reach for your diploma, you have much to be proud of. You’ve worked hard to get to this point. I hope you get to celebrate with family, friends, your educators and other important people in your life.

What will you do next? Perhaps you have a job lined up, or you’ve enlisted in the military. Maybe you will you head to a college or university in the fall?

Whatever you do, keep learning. The opportunities to do so are endless—through formal schooling and life experiences of all kinds.

And the research is clear: earning a credential after high school, whether that’s an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree, increases your earnings potential.

Do you play sports? I don’t, but I live with two guys (my husband and son) who have athletic talent in abundance. My husband has taught both our son and me a lot about baseball, including insights on pitching. He’s shared that with any transition between levels in the game, players must learn to adjust to new pitch speeds. Whether that’s the move from coach pitch to kid pitch, little league to legion, or minors to majors, batters must learn to read a new approach to the baseball at the plate.

Players who do well at any level adjust to new pitch speeds. And, while difficult at first, with some practice the new speed becomes routine.

That’s what you’re doing now, as you move on from high school. You’ve faced some tough pitches throughout high school – some curveballs, some sliders and plenty of fastballs.

But through it all, you stepped up to the plate with more and more confidence. You’ve got this.

Whether your next steps are clear or not at this point, remember that muscle is built during times of rest following intense activity. You’ve grown throughout your schooling and learned how much grit you have. You’ve risen to the challenge. Take time to rest, reflect and have some fun this summer.

If you have plans for the fall, make the most of this time with your high school friends before you head your separate ways. If you don’t have plans at this point, you have time to make them. Talk with trusted adults and friends about what the next right step is for you.

Again, congratulations, graduates!