Sandra Bullock Surprises High School Grads With Lovely Commencement Speech: "Nothing Is a Failure" and "Do Not Pick Your Nose in Public"

Celebrity News May. 19, 2014 AT 7:55PM
Sandra Bullock Sandra Bullock Credit: Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images

What a graduation gift! Sandra Bullock surprised graduates of Warren Easton Charter High School at their commencement ceremony at the University of New Orleans' Lakefront Arena, on Monday, May 19.

"Please join me in a warm welcome for Sandra Bullock," the presider said as Bullock walked to the stage in a body-hugging plum dress, while the entire arena erupted. According to local ABC affiliate WWLTV, 49-year-old Bullock has been a big supporter of the school (the oldest public high school in the state of Louisiana), after it closed from 2005 to 2006 from Hurricane Katrina damages.

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In her speech, the Oscar winner shared personal life anecdotes with the high school students to help motivate them. "I didn't remember anything because I was so worried about the future," Bullock told the crowd. "I wasn't present." The actress recalled how someone recently posed the question, "If you could go back and talk to your younger self, what would you say?"

"I wished someone had said to me what I've been spending the last four years, telling a little boy, who I love more than anything, who happens to be my son," she explained of her adopted son Louis Bardo Bullock. "So I thought, 'Maybe I will share that with you guys, that what I tell a 4-year-old, is what I wish someone had told me before I stepped out into the world.'"

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The actress went on to share bullet points of lifelong advice. "The first thing is stop worrying so much," Bullock told the students. "Stop being scared of the unknown, because anything I worried about didn't happen. Other stuff happened. The unknown we can't do anything about."

Bullock's second word of advice was to "raise the bar higher." She added, "It is noisy out there and for some reason, people want to see you fail. That's not your problem, that is their problem. I only remember the moments where I tried beyond what I thought I could do and I do not remember the failures because I didn't. Nothing's a failure, it's just not supposed to work out that way because something better is supposed to come along."

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"The third thing we work on [is] at home in the morning," the actress shared. "We turn on the music really really loud before we leave the house. And the rule is, you have to dance a little bit before you step out in the world, because it changes the way you walk."

Additional funny words of advice included eating "something green every day with every meal" and "do not pick your nose in public."

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On a more serious note, the actress told the grads to embrace their loved ones whenever possible. "When someone who cares about you hugs you?" Bullock said, "Hug them back with two arms."

The actress went on to explain in great detail, "Don't do the one-armed hug, because when you hug with two arms, it allows you to lean on somebody, and we always need somebody to lean on. If someone doesn't want to play with you, it's okay. Not everyone is going to love us, go find somebody who does want to play with you, and appreciates what you have to offer."

Bullock's final words of advice was "go find your joy." The Gravity actress mused, "It's what you're going to remember in the end. It's not the worry, it's not the what-ifs. It's the joy that stays with you," she said. "I want to thank you for the joy that Warren Easton brings me every day."

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