Good afternoon Graduates, Students, Trustees, Parents, and Friends: welcome.We are very happy you are all here to share in this celebration of the accomplishments and unique qualities of the 35 fine members of our graduating class of 2011.Let me begin by quoting one of our graduates sitting in front of me today, from a KGUN Channel 9 interview last September at the Tucson Ethnic Extravaganza
we are here to advocate for all students being able to learn about an ethnicity and its history: this is about a privilege that I enjoy at my school, St. Gregory,  and which I feel every student should share: the freedom of knowledge.
For this purpose and ideal, Aubri Romero and Jacob Valdez, advised by Dr. Berry,  took the initiative to make a difference for our community by organizing a community-wide rally downtown. They had to overcome significant challenges,  but they persevered and did it the way they believed they could make the most difference, and it was a great success.What is especially meaningful to me about this particular action is what they were fighting for:  better education for all.   They sought to empower fellow students, and to improve our society, by influencing what and how their fellow students learn.They know that Education empowers; learning matters.Yes, this always been true, but it has never been more true.  We live in a fast-changing world.  Telephones used to change every decade or so back  in 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s— remember call waiting”, and how long it took us all to adjust—but now phones (we don’t have time to call them telephones any longer) change every year as new cell phone models arrive and change every day as new “apps” are added.

In a fast-changing world, the responsibility is upon us, all of us, more than it has ever been before, to continue learning and growing.  Graduates, you are, all of you, headed off to college and university, and as we are the St. Gregory College Preparatory School, we are pleased and proud that you are.  A college education is a very fine thing to have.

But it is not sufficient.

One of you, I know, began this week already a course to become a real estate agent.   He tells me that in his class of 40, he is the youngest by ten years—and that this is just one element of his broad based plan to educate himself both inside and outside of college.

How might you learn in ways beyond and in addition to college?  Graduate school, yes: more than 70% of you have indicated your intent to go to grad school, nearly double the national average.   But grad school too is not enough.

Reading, certainly, is another way: and we should all be grateful to the service of Librarians like the retiring Mrs. Speetzen who inspires and guides us in our learning by reading.

There is also a whole world of learning available to you online–  one example being, oh, I don’t know, maybe TED Talks, (pause)  and in addition to TED talks, there are hundreds upon thousands upon millions of places online by which you can continue and extend your learning.

The true beauty of online learning, however, does not lie in searches, page-views, and video watching, but comes from creating, producing, sharing, and collaborating online.

In her recent book DIYU: Do-it-Yourself University, the Coming Transformation of Higher education,  Anya Kamentz explains that in this still new online environment,

Everyone explores, virtually and actually.  Everyone contributes something unique.  Everyone learns.  This is the essence of the DIYU idea.
Many of you realize the degree to which learning is social: we learn more when we learn together, when we exchange ideas and stimulate each other’s thinking– and this is the way many people find online learning to be most rewarding.In a brilliant book published this spring, The New Culture of Learning, the genius John Seely Brown, legendary director of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center explains that

in these new learning environments, digital media provide access to a rich source of information and play.  Now new online collectives are forming, in which people belong in order to learn.  Thanks to digital media, the range of available collectives is almost limitless.  They constitute an ocean of learning.

Innovation is social too.  As Steven Johnson explains in Where Good Ideas Come From,

the most consistently creative individuals have broad social networks that extend far beyond their organization,

and he demonstrates thoroughly in the book that there is no better way today to develop a broad social network than online.To be a leader and innovator in your future, learning is essential, but I know you know it doesn’t end with learning. Learning must lead to doing: Innovation doesn’t mean you accomplished a new understanding or discovered a new idea: it means you did something with that understanding or idea.
We become just by performing just actions, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave actions,
Aristotle said, and I’d add, we become leaders and innovators by performing leading and innovating actions. 
In this spirit let me commend our students for performing such actions as part of our new Design Build Innovation Class, taught by Mr. Conner.  After the ceremony,  you can walk just a few paces to our west, to see the new Green Energy Ramadathey are building.  Off the grid, it will draw upon both solar and wind energy to recharge student laptops.  This is learning by doing, this is innovation.The beauty of our design build class is that the students in it aren’t waiting to be told what to do: they, like many of our graduates and students, are seeking and discovering their own ways to have an impact and make a difference.   They are doing exactly what Seth Godin calls for in his recent book, Poke the Box:

Please stop waiting for a map.  We reward those who draw maps, not those who follow them.

Graduates, and all of you who are learners, leaders, and innovators:  Go forth and learn, because as Jacob and Aubri said, everyone should share in the freedom knowledge brings, and use that ongoing learning to make your own maps and better address the challenges our society and our planet face with character, leadership, scholarship, and innovation.