The Odessa Record -

Valedictorian's speech

 


Many great events go down in history, the birth of Christ, the building of the pyramids, the Titanic and all that other stuff we learned about in Mr. Moffet's history class. And as much as we would like to compare our class and the commencement of high school to some memorable moment in time, we probably relate most to the Titanic as that, too, didn't go as planned. It seemed to be smooth sailing for most of this trip we call high school, but towards the end most of my classmates can agree we hit quite the iceberg of senioritis. Nonetheless, with a little help from our parents and all of our teachers, we made it here.

High school may have been a brief four years, but for some of us the history of our class goes back many more. And with each year spent growing up together came change. For example, in first grade I got my only red ticket because I snuck my flip phone into reading group. Well, that might be a bad example, because I've lost every behavior point in Mr. Wehr's class because of that same reason. Some things have actually changed though. Instead of fighting every day over who got to sit on the big swings at recess, we get into heated debates that usually last weeks, even though they were supposed to be a one-day deal. The intense middle-school PE dodgeball games where the boys would all gang up on us was pretty fair payback for when us girls used to make them pretend to be babies when we played house in kindergarten. The field trips to museums turned into skip days to ride roller coasters. Counting to ten and the ABCs turned into AR reading tests which then somehow turned into stoichiometry and quadratic equations, even though we probably won't be using much of those again.

Through all this change, we learned some things along the way. Of course there was the math assignments and essays, but some of the lessons that helped us get here today aren't your typical high school lessons. Like when you hear high heels click-clacking down the hallway, Mrs. Nelson is coming, so you probably should look like you're doing something, even though half the time those high heels turn out to be Mrs. King. When it comes to Mr. Schuh, Desmos* is your best friend. If you want some candy or a cup of coffee, Ms. Caler is your hookup, and recycling bins have more than one purpose.

Our class turned out to be quite the fun group. Within our 14 kids, you can find the Harry Potter enthusiasts, the athletes, the shopaholics, the artists, the hunters, the overachievers and just about everyone in between. With our unique mix of strong personalities, we proved to be quite the handful for our teachers, and I'm sure every one of them, from preschool all the way until now, would back me up on that. So, to all of the teachers that taught us everything from how to tie our shoes and zip up our coats to how to build resumes and prepare for the real world, thank you. To our parents who packed our lunches, stayed up late while we finished our homework, made sure to come to every game, and our friends' parents who were there to fill in anytime they were needed, gave us countless rides home and always cheered us on, we could never thank you enough.

The stories we have from our time here are some you would never hear anywhere else. I doubt any other kids we meet will have had a song written by their teachers for them at their graduation. They probably wouldn't have gotten in trouble for sneaking off during the walks to the golf course during PE. They probably couldn't tell you what it was like to have to stay the night in the Chicago airport. I doubt they know what it's like to have to drive 45 minutes just for some McDonald's. And I can almost guarantee they didn't grow up within walking distance of almost all of their friends' front porches.

I'm sure every one of us complained at some point about growing up in a small town or having to move to one, but looking back it has given us some pretty special experiences. Usually, your high school sports teams don't have the same starting lineups as your peewee teams did. Most of the time, the girls who used to play dress up at sleepovers don't get to spend hours getting ready for the prom together. And the kids who used to ride their bikes to the pool don't get to spend summers at the lake together. Odessa is a little different though. Many of us got to grow up together and we were lucky enough to add a couple of new kids along the way.

Sure, things have changed growing up, but I think we all turned out pretty good. Over the next few months, we'll all be going our separate ways. We'll be seeing new things, meeting new people, and just trying to figure out how to navigate being an adult. The next time we walk into a classroom, it won't be filled with the same familiar faces. The next path we take in life won't be alongside our childhood friends. But no matter where we end up going, our roots are all the same. There's no telling where we are headed, but Odessa has left us all with some pretty cool stories to tell, and I wouldn't have wanted to make those memories with any other group of kids.

*a free online graphing calculator

 

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