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Words to live by

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Posted: Saturday, June 5, 2010 12:00 am

Lodi educators, athletes and officials give words of wisdom to 2010 high school graduates.

Join many extracurricular clubs and participate in sports either as a dedicated fan or as a paticiapnt. College is not just about excelling at academics, which is important, but about important life lessons that are only able to be taught outside the classroom.

— Stephanie Brown Trafton, Galt resident and 2008 Olympic discus gold medalist

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Nancy Beckman

My advice is to never stop learning. Life is a classroom. Take every opportunity to experience all the richness that life has to offer.

When it comes to looking for work, prepare for your interview as if you are taking a test. Make a list of questions that you might be asked and think about how you might answer them. Research the position, the company and the community. Don't hesitate to use a contact in the region to find out about the history of the company and job position. Management will be impressed that you did your homework.

If the interview doesn't go the way you wanted, give yourself a break. Shake it off and learn from your mistakes!

— Nancy Beckman is the president and CEO of Visit Lodi! Conference and Visitors Bureau

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Patrick Ianni

First off, I'd like to say congratulations. Where you finished this June is in large part to the work you have put into it.

Adopt that same principle as you go into the real world or to college that you get what you put into things. And most of all, dominate your gift you have been given as it is your surefire way to self-satisfaction, purpose and helping/inspiring others. If you sing, dominate that. If you can teach, dominate that. If you can write, the same. We were all born to dominate something, so please, share that thing with the rest of us!

Your future is inside of you just as the future of an apple is the seed inside itself so don't look to TV or other people to try to figure out your future is because it's not there! If you do follow their trends and become something you weren't suppose to be, you will only be abnormally using (abusing) yourself.

Do some soul searching and find out what that seed inside of you is. Maybe, it's the cure for cancer. Maybe, it's something else, I don't know, but figuring out your seed and committing to it is a key to personal fulfillment.

One of you might be the next America's top chef, but if you don't cultivate your gift with countless hours of smart work, we will all be missing out on that wonderful and creative dinner, but none will be as bummed as you if you don't do it. I can't guarantee that if you dominate your gift, you won't have any problems, but you will have a sense of purpose, self esteem and passion and that's what I wish for you all.

— Patrick Ianni is a Lodi High graduate who played for the 2008 U.S. Olympic soccer team and currently plays for Major League Soccer's Seattle Sounders

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David Jon Foster

Don't settle for anything less than what you want out of life. Don't be practical and don't play it safe. Go for it, for whatever dream you have, and remember that passionis the driving force that will make your dreams come true.

— David Jon Foster, Lodi poet and artist

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Richard Jones

From my perspective being school board president, I wish them all well. Whether they plan to go to college, junior college, or another way I would wish that they set a goal and stick with it.

My parents helped me during that time and I had great parental involvement. I hope their parents would do that as well.

Whatever they decide to do, they should follow their path and follow dream. If they stay focused, good things will happen.

— Richard Jones is the president and CEO of the Lodi Boys and Girls Club

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Ann Areida-Hintz

FIND YOUR PASSION! Do what you love and it won't seem much like work.

— Ann Areida-Hintz, senior services coordinator at Hutchins Street Square

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Barbara Payne

Whether you go to a junior college or a four-year college, it is a good idea even if you do not know what you want to do. A lot of companies, even construction, require two years of college, no matter what you major in.

I know at-risk kids who participate in job programs, and what I hear back is they are not always responsible about showing up for work. You need to take it seriously and be on time. That's a basic, but a lot of young people don't get it because they are still thinking about having fun in high school.

And especially for women, but I guess it would apply to men also, consider non-traditional roles. I was a construction supervisor for residential construction. What I had, and the reason they hired me, is because I had taken management courses, not construction because they can teach me construction.

— Barbara Payne is a Galt councilwoman

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Dean Gualco

You need to work hard. I have this saying: Great accomplishments and great rewards usually come from great sacrifices. You are going to have to put in effort in this economy to be successful in a career search.

The first and foremost thing they are going to have to do is get a college education. The national statistic is people with a college degree earn two times more. Your future growth potential is severely stunted without a college degree. You have to work hard.

It is an increasingly competitive environment these days, because there are few jobs and lots of people unemployed, so you have to differentiate yourself, whether that is going to college, working hard, joining civic groups or having a winning personality. Like any business, you have to differentiate yourself from the competition.

— Dean Gualco is the human resources manager for the city of Lodi

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Tasso Kandris

Find a subject that he or she likes. Find a subject you really like, go in that direction because it will be a lot more fun. It may seem like a lot of hard work in the beginning, but in the long run, it will pay off because you will do what you like. Have perseverance. Stick with it.

— Tasso Kandris, chairman, Woodbridge Municipal Advisory Council

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Chris Piombo

You need to find something to do that you love.

When asked what he advice he would give high school graduates, Lodi Police Lt. Chris Piombo's response comes immediately.

He went through high school, graduated from University of California, Davis, and only then did he find his calling when he rode along with a friend who worked for the Stockton Police Department. He loved it, and subsequent ride-alongs further proved it.

It may take a long time, you may go down different roads, but find something that you love; it will make life easier. I love what I do," said Piombo, who started as a patrol officer and worked a variety of positions ranging from detective to SWAT team member.

As the first person in his family to graduate from college, Piombo encourages his own children to get an education. He also keeps his sense of humor intact.

"The key to life is a good night's sleep and a comfortable pair of shoes," he said, then added with a laugh that was only half-joking: "I take naps as a hobby because it's cheap and easy to do."

— Chris Piombo, Lodi Police lieutenant

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Brad VanderHamm

If you don't already have a mentor, find one soon.

By mentor, I mean someone that is doing what you want to do professionally at the level of success you would like to have. I really don't think that young people will find much success unless they find someone who is willing to spend time with them, teach them, show them and guide them through their failures and successes. My mentor shared this example: If you had to cross a mine field and someone had already successfully crossed it and left you footprints to follow, doesn't it make perfect sense to follow in those footprints.

The second piece of advice would be to have a dream. Those that know how will always work for those that know why. The why is the dream that keeps you going. The opposite of success isn't failure, it is quitting."

— Brad VanderHamm, teacher and liaison to the Lodi Youth Commission

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