Many of us here today probably feel the pangs of nostalgia. Looking back over the past 13 years brings back joyous memories that keep us grounded in the past, fearful of exploring the next chapter of our lives: the future. I will be honest with you, I am scared of the future too. Being accountable for every decision and facing the world at 18 years of age. It is simply scary, but fortunately, we can thank the past, Lonoke schools and town and family members for preparing us for the future.
It is inevitable that we will face adversity, maybe mistakes, and have to choose between paths taken or create a new one. Even though, at times, we might feel alone, there will always be someone with a hand on our shoulders to guide us in the right direction. Don’t bow to social pressures and change yourself to fit in the future. Always stick to your beliefs and stay true to yourself. This takes me back to Dr. Seuss, where our learning all began. He says, “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive that is youer than you.” As we remember the stories of Green Eggs and Ham and The Cat in the Hat, we need to hold to these words that define everyone here. Don’t forget who you are or where you come from. Look at the arches from the old high school. Let that stand as a sign for our past and as a reference for our future.
Many past graduates from Lonoke never thought of their high school as standing with only the aches remaining. The future is inevitable. With that in mind, let us attack it with fiery intensity instead of with resentment and condemnation. We have the tools to turn the current turmoil and fix the problems the world faces. We just have to realize our potential and strive to be the best that we can be. Don’t settle for the bare minimum: chase your dreams. As long as we stay passionate, ambitious and courageous, we can achieve anything our hearts desire. The future might, and will, hold failures for us; learning from those failures gives us the insight we need for success.
Lonoke High School Class of 2012: 13 years ago we were learning the alphabet, taking naps every day and wishing to be an adult. Now, with this graduation ceremony, we mark the end of our first journey: we are adults, armed and ready to face the future. Embrace it and let this be a time of joy for our accomplishments. Our future is bright. Congratulations Class of 2012; we’re in this together. In 20 years, when we return for our reunion, we will look at those arches and reflect upon our memories and this moment and know that indeed, dreams do come true.