Burt Reynolds urged a group of graduating high school students in Evening Shade, Ark., to "be bold, not wimpy."

The star of television's "Evening Shade," a show loosely based on life in the northeast Arkansas town of 400, was commencement speaker Friday for 20 or so seniors at Evening Shade School.He told them to seek truth and not to forget their small-town roots.

"I've got to tell you something. When you finally really do what they call make it, whatever that means, what you want is a house in a town like this. You've made it," Reynolds said.

Reynolds, a native of Jupiter, Fla., received a key to the city and a letter jacket. The commencement drew about 1,000 people.

The actor, who stars as coach Wood Newton in the CBS series, advised the graduates not make excuses for their mistakes.

"Be bold, not wimpy," he said.