Chief Justice John Roberts Visits Indiana School

Roberts gives commencement speech to high school he graduated from

By Mary Ann Ahern
|  Monday, May 27, 2013  |  Updated 11:54 AM CDT
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La Lumiere High School's class of 2013 received advice from the school's most distinguished alum.

La Lumiere High School's class of 2013 received advice from the school's most distinguished alum.

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Friday was no ordinary graduation day for La Lumiere High School's class of 2013.

The LaPorte, Ind., students received advice from the school's most distinguished alum, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.

Roberts gave the seniors some tips as they head off to college.

"At your first week of college, say hello or good morning to everyone you pass," Roberts said. 

Roberts also advised to "give your faith a chance."

He told the graduates they should go to church once a week.

"At a time in your life when so much is new, how you respond to new choices can affect so much of your future. You may find it is good to be in a place, just for one hour a week, where things are not new, but familiar and permanent." 

Roberts, a 1973 La Lumiere grad, had not been back to the school in 40 years. But for those who coached or taught him as a Long Beach, Ind., teenager, still have vivid memories.

"You knew he’d be a success, former teacher David Kirby says. "We didn’t know necessarily it would be on the Supreme Court."

Mike Shannon, one of Roberts former roommates at the boarding school, also has vivid memories.

"He was a teenage prodigy, make no mistake about it, he was brilliant," Shannon said. "He would out work you, so he’s in the right place, the right man is the chief."

Roberts related the challenges and failures of President Abraham Lincoln in his speech, suggesting the graduates be prepared for disappointments ahead.

"In his words, you cannot fail, if you resolutely determine you will not," Roberts said.

Roberts' words were especially inspiring for graduating senior Daisy Costello.

"I’m a pretty big history buff, so I really appreciated the Lincoln references, but I think what he said is important. You can’t learn to succeed if you haven’t slipped up before, so you have to learn from your mistakes to achieve something great," Costello said.

Clearly, because of the presence of this special La Lumiere alum, this graduating class can see great achievements may also await them.

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