Challenge: What advice can you share in just two sentences?


Before her passing, Galena School District Superintendent Sharon Olds set lofty expectations and challenged the students in the district with this motto: “Work hard. Be kind. Dream big! No excuses.”

Four sentences. Eight words. Powerful message!

The Gazette wants to challenge all of you. What advice or words of wisdom can you share with the 2020 graduates in just two sentences?

Packing a powerful, thoughtful message in just two sentences is no easy feat. In fact, it might be downright difficult, because being brief when writing is challenging.

So, why are we putting you up to this challenge?

There’s method to our madness.

We’ve all been in flux lately due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s impacted everyone and everything.

Young people graduating this year and their families are especially cognizant of this. Graduating middle school, high school and college is a red-letter day. It’s a remarkably embedded ritual in so many societies around the world.

It’s a rite of passage. . .a gain in status.

As planning for graduation ceremonies by area school districts has ebbed and flowed so too has our planning at The Galena Gazette

Every year we publish a special section honoring the area’s high school graduates. It normally appears in the newspaper the first week of June after the last graduation ceremony.

We’ve been wondering how we’ll cover these graduation rituals this year, because everything is different.

Our collective wisdom boils down to this: if any graduates deserve something special or special recognition, this year’s graduates certainly do. So many lives have been disrupted.

One of the difficult issues has involved making the decision as to when the graduation section should be published. That answer has just been determined.

The plan is to publish the section on Wednesday, July 1. By then we ought to have a good idea as to what all of the area schools are doing.

This section will feature photos of the graduates, names of their parents as well as future plans. We’re also looking for unique ways to make this special section. . .special.

That’s where the challenge enters the picture. We’d like to include your two sentences of wisdom, advice and/or thoughtfulness in this year’s graduation section.

We believe your contributions will add something special to this project and help make it a keepsake.

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The question is: Are you up for the challenge?

Send your two sentences to: Hillary Dickerson, Include your name and where you live. You also need to share a telephone number and email address in case we need to get in touch with you if we have a question. Your contact information won’t be used with your two sentences. If you work at an area school, include which school, as well.

You may also drop your contribution off at The Gazette office.

But that’s not all. That’s the future. . .but, what about right now? We have an answer for that, as well.

The Gazette is partnering with our website host, Creative Circle Media Solutions, to offer an immediate opportunity to honor preschool, middle school, high school and college graduates.

Honor My Grad is a free online service to graduates and their families and can be found at

There, you can upload a photo and include the pertinent information. This part is free and appears on our website.

There are two paid upgrades. One involves having the photo and information published in the print edition of the newspaper–the first batch will run next week. The other allows you to include additional photos, video and information in the graduate’s online listing. Each option is $25.

We also want you to know that we’re interested in unique ways graduates are being honored by your family or someone you know. If you have a suggestion, send Hillary Dickerson,, an email.

COVID-19 is now part of the tapestry of our lives. We’re interested in knowing how you and your graduate are weaving that tapestry.

Oh. . .and by the way. . .if your message to the graduates is actually four sentences, but is kept to eight words, we’ll consider that as well.

Work hard. Be kind. Dream big! No excuses.


Memorial weekend

With Memorial Day weekend approaching this weekend, The Gazette has set early deadlines to accommodate the holiday. All deadlines have been moved up to this Thursday afternoon.

This Friday, the paper will be assembled and the pages sent to our printer in Platteville, Wis. The paper will be printed over the weekend and then distributed at the normal time next week.

With traditional Memorial Day recognition ceremonies cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, please take time to honor those who have served in some way.

by P. Carter Newton, publisher