Words from a wise friend
by staff reports
May 26, 2011 12:00 AM | 5134 views | 4 4 comments | 47 47 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Anna Maria Alongi hugs her homeroom teacher after walking across the stage at the Walton High School commencement, which was held at Kennesaw State University on Wednesday. <br> Photo by Jon-Michael Sullivan
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EAST COBB - The seniors of Walton High School held their annual "Evening of Inspiration" on Tuesday night at Roswell Street Baptist Church, and the person they invited to deliver the keynote speech was Bill Glass, the school's custodian.

"Mr. Glass was a part of our high school experience. He came to our lacrosse games and supported us, especially our senior year. He got to know a lot of the players and cared for us," senior Tyler Poole said.

Another senior, David Levy, described Glass as "definitely the most genuine man I have ever talked to in my life."

"He has been a friend to me since I started at Walton. You could never tell if anything was bothering him because he is the sweetest he could be whenever he saw you. He came to every one of my home baseball games this year. I'm proud to call him my friend," said Levy, who also invited Glass to be in his baseball signing day picture at Walton.

Here are excerpts of Glass' moving speech, which we found appropriate to share in this season of graduation:

"When (student) Claire Batten asked me if I would speak at this celebration, I was stunned to say the least and still am trying to realize - why me? After a day of thought, I accepted and the main reason is your theme. Graduation is not the end, it's the beginning. That is my view of life daily. Every day is a new beginning.

"I begin every day with the Lord's Prayer by asking for wisdom for my family and myself, every day with a sincere heart with communication skills.

"It's my belief that everyone on earth is here for a reason and a purpose and the reason I know this to be true is because one thing God cannot do is make a mistake, which means there is not a mistake in this room and we are all of equal value - self-worth.

"I live in hope that is high on positive energy. I believe in the Golden Rule and that is in everything you do - treat everyone the way you want to be treated. The other most important thing my mother had on our refrigerator door since I was a child - because as a child I went to the refrigerator a lot - I have it laminated and on my refrigerator today and that is not to be deceived. You will reap what you sow, more than you sow, longer than you sow. That is ingrained in me. You can't plant a crabapple seed expecting a red delicious.

"I find living with this mindset you want to show up, not show off. You will realize that self-worth is more than net worth and you'll find joy in giving rather than receiving, and you'll live a life that money can't buy and death can't take it away. ...

"There will be times in your life when you may wonder or say, 'Why is this happening to me?' I've learned in life's lessons it wasn't happening to me, but for me. Your outlook at that time has a strong determination on the outcome. With the positive outlook, you will gain strength and character. I love sports and don't know of any game I've rooted for the opponent, but remember, they're on the field for the same reason and that is to win. When you listen to your coaches and give your all on every play, you're a winner. Sometimes things won't come together, but this is happening for a reason - building strength, perseverance and determination for the next day or the next game. But you have to be living in hope and optimism. ...

"Every day you have a choice. Attitude and thoughts determine your direction. When you accent on the positive, you eliminate the negative. When you download good in your mind, good will come out of your mouth. Believe in yourself. Be true to yourself and speak with authority. I can, we can, we will - in all things be positive and you'll celebrate life rather than chastise it. ... By living in hope, Golden Rule and reaping and sowing, you'll build strength one day at a time. The common denominator we all have is one day at a time. ...

"I have a high regard for this class and feel our nation will be in good hands when it's under your watch. Your character shined very bright with the departure of your friend, Earthquake Jake. I went to his viewing and witnessed compassion to a devastated family above and beyond. ...

"A few months later I went to the dedication of a tree in his honor, which will let him outlive his life on earth. But, more important than that, I witnessed a grieving family, but this time, even in their sorrow, I saw a smile in a broken heart. You are to be commended. My prayer for all of you is that you will never want what you need."
Comments
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anonymous
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May 27, 2011
Cannot wait to get to Walton next year and meet this man!

cobb citizen
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May 26, 2011
The senior class is to be commended for having the custodian to speak at your inspiration night...normally these folks along with the bus drivers, monitors, food services and paraeducators are the least paid, hardest working and less appreciated employees in school system. I am overjoyed reading this story....
preciousfriend
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May 26, 2011
Mr. Glass is precious to the students, parents and staff at Walton. He is consistenly genuine and cares so much for others. In return, he is adored and respected by all and I can't begin to imagine the number of lives he has touched. Walton is blessed to have this man in the daily lives of impressionable teenagers. They'll be better adults because Bill Glass impacted their lives.
impressed
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May 26, 2011
What a wise man! Kudos to the seniors of Walton is having the maturity to ask him to speak at their graduation!
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