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Grady: Growing up in Lonoke great experience

Before I begin, I would like to thank all of our faculty, students and parents who are in attendance tonight for being here to share this special moment and for helping make my experience here at Lonoke High School memorable. It has been an honor to have been a part of such a great school and community.

Good evening Class of 2012. It’s finally Friday. To those of you in the audience, this year I had the privilege of saying the Pledge of Allegiance every morning, and I would always start off with a loud, enthusiastic “good morning” like what I just did. I enjoyed getting the opportunity to do that. It is definitely something I will always remember about this year. While I was thinking about what I was going to say tonight, I could not decide whether I wanted to be serious or funny. I don’t want to bore you all to death, and I don’t want to speak for too long, but I want to at least say a few things that you might remember after you all go home tonight. So I’m just going to try my best to give you the best of both worlds. Here we go.

Growing up in Lonoke has been a great experience. I started off as the chubby, red kid that everyone liked to pick on, grew into the status of the skinny red kid that everyone loved to pick on and stand before you today as the decent-sized red kid that everyone still likes to pick on. Lonoke is big enough that it offers the choices of not one but two Mexican restaurants, McDonald’s, KFC, Taco Bell, Subway, a Dairy Bar, Chinese food, Pruitt’s, Pizza Pro, Pizza Hut, Domino’s and a Sonic, and yet we still find ways to complain that there are just not enough places to eat in Lonoke. And we also have a Walmart. But not only a Wal-Mart, we now have a Wal-Mart Supercenter. Who will ever be able to forget when we had the Lonoke High School’s cheerleaders and band perform on the opening day of the new Wal-Mart? You know you live in Arkansas when a town has a celebration for the opening of a Wal-Mart.

Welcome to Lonoke. Lonoke is also small enough so that as a chubby red 11-year-old, I could put on my sunglasses and feel cool as I rode 10 mph in my golf cart all day around my neighborhood and not have to worry about getting kidnapped, run over or anything of that nature.

Lonoke has given me the opportunity to participate in any activity that I ever desired to participate in. From sports to schooling, to being able to share my musical abilities, to events around the town, these moments provide memories that I will take with me for the rest of my life. And this, my fellow classmates, is where all our journey’s compare.

We all have moments from the past that define our experiences up to this point and that characterize who we are. From the time that we were born up to this particular moment, we have all lived thorough good and bad times. It is how we reacted and lived on through these situations that make us the young men and young women who sit here today, preparing to walk across this stage and create another moment in our own personal history.

We have all had to make the best of our past in order to be here today. For instance, if we had not passed at least the majority of our classes, we would have not completed high school. If we had not taken care of our bodies, we would not be alive today. And if Bobby Petrino had not messed around, he would still be the head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks. To re-state my point, you must make the best of the past in order for the future to even exist. Now, I’m not saying that we should dwell on the past. It is over. We cannot go back and change it now. But I trust that each of us will be able to take what we learned and live through and use it to be successful in our own ways. As we walk across this stage tonight and into the next chapter of our lives, cherish every step. For tomorrow, we will no longer be considered high school students. We will all be to the point where it’s our turn to pave our way in this world. So make the best of every moment, now and in the future, because you only live once. Don’t let life pass you by. Thank you.

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