Lakewood High School's Class of 2019

Photos by Kevin Smith
Posted 5/20/19

Skyler McKinley flipped the script on commencement speeches. His address to the Lakewood High School graduating class of 2019 on Saturday, May 18, at the CU Event Center was titled “Succeed by …

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Lakewood High School's Class of 2019

Posted

Skyler McKinley flipped the script on commencement speeches. His address to the Lakewood High School graduating class of 2019 on Saturday, May 18, at the CU Event Center was titled “Succeed by Embracing Failure.”

“Your failures will shape your life,” McKinley, an LHS alumnus, said.

He said it took longer than he would have liked to understand that concept.

However, he said he spent years running from the possibility of failure.

McKinley is the director of public relations and government affairs at AAA Colorado. In his early 20s he was press secretary for former Gov. John Hickenlooper and was the first deputy director of the Office of Marijuana Coordination -- a job that was almost destined for failure.

“I was the first person in the world to have it,” McKinley said about the marijuana coordination job, adding that he was helping oversee regulation of a substance that had never been regulated before.

After a series of academic and early career struggles, he finally learned that he has to find lessons in failure and apply that to future success.

“Failure doesn’t scare me that much anymore,” McKinley said.

LHS graduated 458 students this year, among them was Peter LoSasso, who was the senior class speaker at commencement. His speech titled “In a Flash” reflected on how his generation documented their entire lives on phones and shared it on social media.

“We have too much photographic evidence of our awkwardness to deny it,” LoSasso said.

He said that the photos on their phones not only document what took place, but illustrated the community they built.

“Remember your journey,” LoSasso said. “Not only document it on your phones, but in your hearts and minds.”

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