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The Next Step

Hello everyone. I’d like to first welcome and thank everyone who was able to come out this evening. It is truly an honor to be able to stand here and speak to this fine group of people on a day like today.

It’s not every day you get to hear the fourth in the class give a speech at graduation. Earlier this week, I was in the middle of a cut corn field in Kansas, looking for turkeys (as some of you probably could have guessed,) when I got a phone call from a strange number. It happened to be Mr. Horn on the other end informing me that I had been selected as salutatorian and I had 3 days to write a speech. I said “sounds good” and hung up. My getting salutatorian as the guy in fourth place let me know that there were three valedictorians in our class. Think about that for a second… a three way tie for valedictorian. Have you ever even heard of such a thing? But this particular scenario speaks a lot about the hard work and determination of the people sitting here in these gowns. Many of these fine young men and young ladies, I have had the pleasure of calling classmates and friends since pre-school. Since then, it has truly been a memorable experience. We weren’t only taught math, science, English, etc. But we learned the values of hard work, integrity, determination, confidence, and the importance of having a sense of humor.

I’d like to first thank Mr. Clark and Mr. Horn. Their administration kept school running smoothly and efficiently. I would also like to extend my gratitude to every teacher for putting in your endless time and effort for our sake. Without my family, I would not be standing behind this podium today. I would like to thank them as well as my friends and classmates.

To my classmates I’d like to say this. High School is where you have found your place in society, whether you know it or not. It is here, that you have made a name for yourself, either good or bad. That name will follow you for the rest of your life. A lot of the people sitting beside you now, you may likely not see them for the next twenty years. People will move away and loose contact and the people you think of now as your best friends, may before too long be just a happy memory. I’m not going to lie to you and say that everyone will always get everything right. There will be regrets and failures. By now I’m starting to sound kind of gloomy. But I assure you there is a bright side to this. You have your whole life in front of you. It’s up to you to make the best of you can with it. Experience is the best teacher and you need to use your future failures to teach you how to turn future situations into successes.

As you walk across this stage today, keep in mind what got you there. Thank the people who pushed you to do your best and encouraged you. Remember the Lord in everything that you do. Good luck to each of you, and God Bless in the days to come. Thank you.

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