Class of 2018

I am looking forward to tonight.

It will be a night where I see students I know and many I do not.  I will be presenting a scholarship in memory of Nolan sponsored by the high school alumni association. This is the second year for the scholarship. I worked hard on last year’s presentation speech. This year’s speech will be very brief. But last year – it being the first – I wanted to talk a bit about Nolan.

Below is my presentation from last year.  I did minor edits for your reading today.

I wish I could tell the class of 2018 and every year to come what I say below…



I would like to address the students in this auditorium. 

My son Nolan walked your school’s hallways just 2 years ago. He graduated in 2015 and went to a well-known university studying a demanding curriculum just like many of you are planning to do. He was well prepared academically. However he had a secret he did not share with his family and even his closest friends.

Nolan had depression and anxiety.

He hid his illness during high school – his jovial personality shown thru especially when he was with his friends. 

Like many parents I did not know my teenage son the way his friends knew him. Back when you are little – your parents could read you like a book!  But now you are a young adult. You are successfully finishing high school and see a future of possibilities. You have expectations of yourself. You feel invincible, but sometimes you have doubts.

Or other thoughts.

And sometimes you don’t think anyone will understand or care.

I know Nolan was figuring out who he was. I know you all are as well. Believe it or not your parents do not expect you to be perfect. Nor should you expect perfection of yourself. Your parents love you – even if you drive them crazy- they love you no matter what.

During your introduction days before your freshman year you will learn about your school’s support services. This is important to hear – these services are there for YOU. They recognize the stress you are going to feel during your undergraduate studies.  Many of you are attending universities that provide great opportunity but also rank high in stress. The rate of suicides of college age students is rising.

12 people aged 15-24 years old take their life every day.

There is no reason to think you are alone. You are not. Your friends, family-  they know you can succeed. And sometimes you stumble and fail and need help. But you are never on your journey alone.

Nolan admitted he had an illness and was receiving treatment. And he was doing well.

But that is where our sorrow lies.

I wish I had advice for your parents today in how to find the balance between being the helicopter parent and giving you full autonomy.

Your parents cannot take full credit for your successes nor should they assume the fault of your mistakes. Mistakes are how you grow and learn. 

Higher education is the key your career success. Even with rising tuition costs the investment holds. With Nolan’s passing we wish to share our planned investment with his brothers and sisters of Crown Point High School for many years to come.

The recipient of this scholarship was chosen because they have the potential and strength that Nolan had. They show courage and appreciation of culture, two of the characteristics of your Portrait of a Graduate.  Just as Nolan helped his friends this person is a friend to another especially during a hard time……

I plan to keep in touch with each year’s recipient. At least during their first year in

Presenting the scholarship gives me hope.

And some days I don’t find hope easy.



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