Good evening. I am beyond grateful and humbled to be here tonight celebrating our achievements. Now that we’re at the end of our time together, I’d like to reflect on the last thirteen years. As a class, we’ve come a long way and have overcome many challenges in order to get to where we are today. This accomplishment has not only been the result of our hard work and perseverance, but also the unwavering support of our teachers, families, and friends.
Looking back on all of the experiences and opportunities for growth that our academic journey has provided us has made me realize that our time together has been quite the adventure.
When one thinks of adventure, it can conjure up images of exploring remote jungles or jumping out of airplanes. However, adventure doesn’t have to include adrenaline and a racing heart. Often times, adventure can be found along the path of achieving your goals. As I have gotten older, I have realized that the journey can offer more value than the destination. So often, we focus on the end result and tend to forget to pause and experience what happens along the way.
For example, our graduation, a destination that we have been working to reach for most of our lives, is only a brief moment of our educational experience. What will have a lasting impact on our lives are the years and years of goal setting, hard work, and personal growth that have brought us to this point.
We endured late nights and early mornings in order to fit extra study time and extracurriculars into our busy schedules. We sacrificed time with friends and family and spent it doing homework. On top of homework and sports practices, we all somehow found time to finish the senior projects, which is an accomplishment in itself. In the end, even as procrastination grew rampant and assignments started to pile up, we fought off senioritis and somehow got everything done.
Let’s not forget the valuable memories we have made. In high school, we dutifully took notes during Mrs. Balmforth and Mrs. Long’s math lessons, fought off drowsiness while reading Great Expectations in sophomore English, and watched with a mix of fear and wonder as Mrs. Montesano taught us the mitosis dance in biology class. We cheered until we lost our voices together at homecoming and barbequed alongside one another at every spring fling. If we consider everything that we’ve gained during our adventures in high school, it is easy to see the importance of actively seeking out adventure in our futures.
As we part ways and prepare for the next phases of our lives, whether it be in college or elsewhere, understand that our journeys may have detours or potholes. In the future, it is very likely that we will encounter challenges and even failure. There is always a chance that we may not arrive at our intended destination. With the right attitude, any experience, especially experiences involving failure, can be used in a positive way. This is because failure provides us with learning opportunities and encourages improvement. Even in the face of challenge and potential failure, we must persevere.
Now, as we start our next adventure, I encourage you to seek new opportunities for growth and to step outside of your comfort zone. Challenge yourself, and see where your efforts take you.
That being said, try to avoid focusing on the destination. After all, it is in the journey where we can find adventure. Considering how far we’ve come, I can only imagine how far we will go. I cannot wait to see where our adventures will take us in the future.