Saturday marks the beginning of a new chapter in the lives of the more than 300 members of the Wilton High School class of 2018.

Graduation ceremonies the world over are called "commencement" exercises for good reason — it is not so much the end of high school that is being marked, but the start of a venture into adulthood.

Class of 2018, you will leave the physical and emotional safety net of your homes, school and community for new pursuits. You do this at a time of tumult in our country not seen in decades. You will need all the skills, education and wisdom you have acquired here to evaluate and respond to the many events and people with ideas and opinions different from your own whom you will encounter.

You will be measured by what you say and do and how you do it.

Remember that education does not end when school is out. Teachers are everywhere; keep your eyes, ears, and minds open, and you will find the world is indeed a classroom.

High school tends to be a time when you pay attention primarily to yourself. As a teenager, it's natural to look inward, to focus on what is right in front you and how it affects you. This is not necessarily selfishness in a negative sense; it is a time when you learn who you are, a time when your foundation — that which shapes who you will become — is formed.

Now is the time for you to build on that foundation that your teachers, your parents, and your peers have helped you lay. As you take this next step in your life, you will see your world expand. You will find your place in a larger community. Use what you have learned about yourself — your passions, what makes you happy, what is important to you — and apply it to the world around you. Use what you know about yourself to help better the lives of others.

Do this, and your life will be filled with new beginnings. Congratulations and best wishes to the Wilton High School class of 2018.