McLean Approximately 480 graduates received their high school diplomas during
McLean High School’s commencement ceremony at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, June 15.
“You did it, congratulations,” said Steve Scully, C-SPAN’s senior executive producer, political editor and host of the network’s “Washington Journal” morning program. “Savor this moment and savor this day because it is special,” he added.
Scully was the guest speaker for the ceremony. As a journalist, he told the crowd that his industry has undergone many changes as technology transformed the business during his career. From his years of experience, he had guidance for the graduates.
“Embrace the change because change is going to shape your life in so many unique and wonderful ways,” he said.
He also warned that failure would be coming their way, but it wasn’t something to cower over.
“When failure comes your way—and it will—take those disappointments with a sense of grace and with dignity,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to try something
new. Don’t be afraid to fail because you will learn even greater success from those failures.”
He also cautioned the graduates to maintain their humility when celebrating their successes by sharing some advice that his father had told him: “Be nice to people on the way up because, more often than not, you’ll meet them on the way down.”
“There are so many people in my industry who have been knocked off their perch because of how they treated others,” he added.
He had no doubt that the graduates in the room would climb to the top of their chosen professions.
OUT OF THE 480 GRADUATES receiving their diplomas at the commencement, 128 graduated with honors.
“In your lifetime, you will have many titles,” he said. “Among you I am certain, there are some bright and promising doctors or lawyers, business executives, maybe a few journalists, athletes or scientists, military officers and maybe a few aspiring politicians. This is a bright and smart class.”
In whatever they pursue, Scully told the graduates to keep things in perspective.
“Whatever profession you do, be the very best but remember this: What’s most important is not what you do, but who you are,” he said. “Because ultimately, it’s not the title you have, it’s not the neighborhood you live in, it’s not the salary you earn.”
He said what matters beyond all else is the kind of people they become.
“What’s your reputation?” he asked. “How do you treat others?”
Scully’s most notable attribute is his commendable exercise of patience in an atmosphere of polarizing politics.
John Oliver, the host of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” show, named Scully the “most patient man on television” in 2016.
Oliver dubbed him as a man of persistent patience because of the morning show that Scully hosts on C-SPAN where viewers can call in and ask questions. Even when his callers make the most radical claims, Scully maintains his cool.
SCULLY joked with the crowd and attributed his incredibly patient demeanor to growing up in a family where he was the 14th born out of 16 children.
As he was witnessing the students close their high school chapters, he told them to remember that it was now up to them to write their own story, starting that day.
“Don’t gossip and backstab,” he said. “Don’t tear people down. Build them up and live a life that you’re proud of. Your character will shape your destiny.”