Friday, May 22

Happy Graduation, Kyle!

by Margie Senechal

My nephew, Kyle, is one of the 2020 high school graduates whose graduation ceremony is still in limbo because of the pandemic. Forty years ago, I also graduated under the shadow of a national story—the eruption of Mt. St. Helens. For months before and after our graduation, that mountain stole the spotlight, especially as we live in the valley of said volcano.

So, with a forty year retrospective 20-20 vision, I’m going to give Kyle advice that I wished I’d known when I was 18 and looking for independence.

Dear Kyle,

Be brave. No, I’m not going to make you board a roller coaster. But, do be brave as you face your future. Be brave enough to try out different things and follow your passions. You don’t need to decide today or tomorrow what you want to do with the rest of your life, so take your time and do a little experimenting. 

Jerry Seinfeld once said, “Do you know why adults are always asking kids what they want to be when they grow up? It’s because they’re looking for ideas.” I think that might be true.

Explore. Take classes that interest you along with whatever required ones you have to take. The most memorable class I took was an Ancient World History class. Have I ever used that information? I don’t think so. But, man did I love learning it—even if I’ve forgotten most of it by now. 

Don’t be afraid to fail. Failing and learning from our failures is what makes us better at our jobs and our crafts. I promise you won’t regret taking chances even if they backfire, but you will regret not taking some of those chances.

And finally, fight the Wilkinson complacency gene. There are many good things that come from the Wilkinsons (our sense of humor, to be sure). But, there is also the unambitious coupled with procrastination gene that hinders our choices. So fight that with the bulldozing Baker gene. 

Wait. I have another And finally

Be true to you. Trust yourself. Trust your dreams. Trust your values. Be true to you.

Love you, Kid, and happy graduation!


  1. Awww... sweet, Aunt Margie and actually, that letter works for all grads this year! Nice post!

  2. So nice, Margie. Congratulations to Kyle. As disappointing as it is not to have a graduation ceremony, forty years from now it will certainly be a time he remembers. All the best!

  3. Lovely, Aunt Margie. Congratulations to Kyle.