It's the time of year when students are finishing finals, graduating from both high school and college, and ending the school year. Some have had a great year, some have had a tough year, and some have had a year somewhere in between. Regardless of how your year went, the fact remains that it is now over, or at least close to being over. So I want to say something to each and every one of you who is at the end of your school year - CONGRATULATIONS!! You did it!!

Every hard test that you endured and didn't think you'd make it through, you survived and lived to tell the tale.

Every day you didn't want to get out of bed for that 8 a.m. class that you didn't really enjoy, guess what? You never have to go to that class ever again. Every gross piece of food you had to eat at your cafeteria to stay alive during the school year is all worth it because now you're done with this school year.

You've probably gone through some rough patches this year. Maybe it was because of a difficult class, but it also could be from other difficulties in your life. Maybe your finances weren't where you would like them to be. Maybe you had a difficult situation at home that made it hard to focus on your schoolwork. Maybe you felt like no matter how hard you tried at something, you still could never get it right. Maybe it was a situation that no one else could understand but you.

But let me tell you something - YOU MADE IT.

You persevered and came out on the other side of whatever difficulties came your way and that is something to be proud of.

Be proud of the fact that you grew as a person by overcoming those rough patches in your life. Be proud that your character is stronger because of the tough times that you passed through this school year. Celebrate every good grade you earned, and celebrate the bad ones as well, because I guarantee you learned something from those bad grades, possibly even more than you learned from the good ones.

I, for one, am so excited that the school year has finally come to the close. I'm proud of myself for making it through, and I'm proud of each and every one of you. Whether you're going back to school next year, or going to work, remember this-you've made it through each year of school in your life, so I truly believe you can tackle whatever comes your way next year, in school or in life.