The Odessa Record -

Salutatorian speech


Good Morning! Welcome to the graduation ceremony for the class of 2017! We are so grateful that you all took the time to celebrate this milestone with us.

Without all of you sitting here today, we would not be here. Our parents formed who we are from the beginning and then passed us as children, not yet individuals, to our teachers. From there, they taught us not just about math and reading, but about ourselves and kindness and compassion. Once we got older, we became individuals that our coaches, advisors and the rest of our teachers then helped smooth out the rougher edges of our personality to allow the beauty within us to shine through. Thanks to you, we have a pretty good understanding of who we are and what we want out of life, even if we have no idea what steps we need to take to get there.

But our world is changing. It is an infinite-sided die, cast into the air, and no one knows where it’s going to land and what it will look like when it does. So, in the spirit of ensuring we remain the amazing people we have been molded into, I offer this quote from J. Michael Straczynski, “Doesn’t matter what the press says. Doesn’t matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn’t matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right.

“This nation was founded on one principle above all else: The requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world, ‘No, YOU move’.”

That’s a Captain America quote, in case you were wondering, or if you’re also a nerd, thought it sounded familiar. Guys, you are who you are, and anyone who tries to change that doesn’t deserve you in their lives. But there will be people who try to tell you that what you believe is wrong because it’s not what they believe. Have faith in the truth you know and as you continue on in life, don’t change who you are just because someone says you should. Don’t be afraid to grow either. Change is a constant in this world, and it is a constant in our lives, but once you have found who you want to be and what you believe, stick to it. Stick to the person you want to become and stick to the goals you want to accomplish.

We are splitting up from what has been the only school and only class some of us have ever known. We are leaving not just each other, but the safety and comfort of our small town. As we do this, I implore you to remember where you came from and the lessons you learned here, even if that lesson is as simple as don’t make Aaron angry, or don’t tell Brad the Red Socks suck, or stare at Gaven for more than 5 seconds when Shelbey is around. And we all know if you need a PowerPoint you go to Elizabeth, whereas Lukas is your nutrition fitness expert, and you don’t go to Colby for anything because he’ll hand you a penny and a Werther’s Original and expect you to be grateful. If you get John or Cole to yell, you done messed up, and you definitely shouldn’t get me started on a debate topic I’m passionate about. That doesn’t end well for anyone. But mostly, don’t forget to be yourself, whoever that person may be. We are here to celebrate the next step forward into the journey of our lives, so on behalf of the class of 2017, thank you again for getting us to this point and thank you for celebrating this moment with us.


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