I.C. MURRELL — Dear class of 2020 … always seek truth

Published 12:29 am Friday, May 29, 2020

To our local high school, junior college, college and higher education graduates:


I hope you understand by now that one day real soon, you will lead a community, a state, a nation and this world.

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People will turn to you for guidance, just as you looked to my generation and ones before us for the same. The way we thought how life is supposed to go has been shaped differently in an instant on more than one occasion, and just like technology, it’ll change again, somehow.

As you continued in your book studies, you learned things not easily teachable in a classroom setting, and we now know how (in)valuable that setting can be.

We all learned that rebuilding lives from a hurricane in 2017 is an arduous task, and that as communities, we can better prepare for the next great storm. It’s a reminder for each of us to always be ready.

We’ve seen how industry plays a huge role in affecting the quality of life. We are fortunate to be one of America’s ports, and we’re fortunate to have industry play a financial role in supporting our communities. But everyone has a role to play in the workforce, and everyone who’s willing to work hard for a better life should have an opportunity in the workforce.

That said, everyone has to account for his or her role. When a company succeeds, we want to know who were the key players. When disaster strikes, we ask whether everyone did what’s possible to limit the impact.

Disaster struck us on Nov. 27, and it could be felt from miles away. And there are still plenty of questions to be answered.

One thing is certain: We emerged from the disaster. Businesses cleaned up and opened up again. Schools reopened. Basketball games tipped off.

Then, the week after spring break, we were forced to stop again due to the threat of an invisible enemy called coronavirus, so invisible that we’re still learning about its potential and seeking truth about its effects. We know five of our neighbors — four of them in Port Arthur — have lost their lives to it, and there was so much more to their lives than the cause of death.

Those in charge from Washington on down to Elm Street were forced to come up with alternative ways to help us keep living. The rites of passage and championships every student looks forward to experiencing were put on pause as we tried to figure out together how we limit the impact of coronavirus and move forward in life.

Be that as it may, you were not robbed. You were educated. We were educated. And we want to celebrate with you your next step.

You sought truth, you kept pursuing a goal and you achieved it. Your experience will help you to guide the next generation, because you now have a reference point and a story to tell.

It is why, then, I ask each you graduates — homeschoolers, Titans, Sharks, Bulldogs, Indians, Eagles, Cougars, Seahawks and all college graduates alike — to seek truth in everything, for truth is the golden virtue of education. I urge that you seek it together and use face-to-face and virtual society for the greater good. Be horrified when wretched acts of injustice surface on video, but do not give evil its victory in fear.

I say undoubtedly — and I pray you take it to heart — no act of racism or corruption is greater than the virtue of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We are charged to stand against evil and mistruth at all times.

Respect authority but know your rights. Give charitably but know your limits. Find someone special but know exactly where you stand.

Remember that God has given each of us a talent and it’s up to us to build the skills necessary to use our talents for a greater good. But let not work — or even the next stage in your educational careers — contain you from the mighty wonders that lie ahead.

You’ve fulfilled an educational mission, but more importantly, you have graduated to leading a world full of wonders.

Go in love, and never forget where your journey started. — I.C.


I.C. Murrell is the editor of The Port Arthur News. He can be reached at 409-721-2435 or at ic.murrell@panews.com.

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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