Chloe Lane - Class Valedictorian
Thank you for your patience with me these past few years. I know that I may have not had any trouble with my school work, but I've had other challenges. I couldn't have gotten through it all without the support of the Salem High staff, and my friends. There were times over the last three years where I wanted to runaway. Life just seemed to hard, and I know that I wasn't the only one. Now I see that every difficult experience contributed to a greater understanding of who I am as a person, and where I want to go from here. That's what today is all about, commencement. Leaving one phase of our lives and moving into another. And even if we know where we're going to going to college or were we are working next year. The future is still unknown, and that can be scary. Some of us will be leaving Salem which means leaving our friends and families behind. And even those of us who chose close to home will soon realize that the world looks very different. We won't be coming into Salem high everyday, and getting books our of our lockers, making fun of the the cafeteria food, or complaining about having too much homework. We move into a world that is new and unfamiliar. The next time we see some of our fellow students may be at a high school reunion, where according to statistics a few of us may be bald, and some may have gained a few pounds. Some classmates may come back famous, or infamous. And some may leave this earth before their time. But all of that is unknown today, and that is the way it should be. We move forward not knowing what lies ahead. And yet we must seize the day. We must move into the future with courage and determination to make our mark. To quote one of my favorite poems, "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may" In other words, this is our moment, lets take it. Don't let anything stand in your way. Lets make the most of the time we have before it gets taken away.
Jen Horton - Guest Speaker
First thing I want to say is that every graduate in this auditorium is so far ahead of where I was at their age. Seriously, it's true. I, I really struggled through high school and ended up right there in summer school, isn't that right Gran? But the thing is I never got to wear a cap and a gown and to have a really cool ceremony like this. So I know all of you, you know you may feel really silly that your dressed like this, but you have to remember though that this is all part of the tradition. It is a symbol of everything you have accomplished over the past four years. All of the hard work tat has got you to this moment, this moment where you start thinking about your future. And I know how much that would have frightened me when I was your age. But the thing is, you kids, you have so much more pressure than my generation did. You have pressure to have fabulous jobs, make piles of money, have a huge house, a fancy car. And you know all of that is really fine, but The one thing I want you to remember is that you must always love each other and look out for each other. I know each of you had to complete a unit of community service in order to graduate. And I just hope that that experience was satisfying enough that you will want to continue helping others. So that each of you go out in the world hoping to make it, I want to encourage you help. And I'm not talking about donating millions of dollars. But if you have millions of dollars by all means, donate some of it. I believe that there are little things you can do every day. You can work at a food pantry, you can join the PTA, the local school board, baby sit your neighbor's kids, go grocery shopping for an elderly friend. I want you to know how important family is to me, and I encourage all of you to create a family in whatever way you define that, because I promise you that there is no greater joy than to love and take care of the people in your family. And for some of us that means having children and grandchildren, but I believe that everyone you touch in life becomes part of your family, even if it is only for a moment. And I really believe that every single day you have the opportunity to change a person's life. So right now I would like all of us to take a moment of silence to honor the people we love, and for those who can't be here with us right now. Thank you. Now I have been told a commencement speech is not complete without a quotation. Ralph Waldo Emerson may have been born in another century, but I believe that his words are timeless and timely for us here today. "What lies behind us, and what lies before us, are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." Thank you.
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