Greetings to the Class of 2020!
And greetings to all of you who are watching from various locations. Although you may not be here, we feel your pride and affection.
As I stand here today, it’s to embrace change. When I imagined crossing the stage, finally free from high school, I - as I’m sure many of you did - pictured it being in front of my family. To be able to gaze out onto the masses, searching for a familiar face, to reflect a smile back. But obviously, that's not how things ended up. Despite the adversity we have encountered in our high school career’s, we persevere - even if it’s through a global pandemic.
While we may not always be able to control a situation, we CAN control how we respond to it. The ability to take a problem in stride and continue moving forward is a skill crucial to success in life, because (like it or not) you will encounter problems. Just remember as life challenges you, it also presents you with opportunities.
We have spent many years together and those experiences may remain a part of us forever. But our school careers will not define us. As we go forward in our own separate ways, into engineering, business, art, or whatever life holds, the one constant that will endure is change. We all have the ability to evolve, so be the person you want to be, not just the one you're expected to be.
I have a quote from a YouTube video I watched at 2 a.m. during the composition of this speech:
“The White Cliffs of Dover are a symbol of Britain. They are this imposing barrier. But they’re just chalk. Time and tide will wash them away, a long time in the future. This, too, shall pass. But that doesn't mean you shouldn’t build things anyways. Just because something is going to break in the end doesn't mean it can’t have an effect that lasts into the future. Joy. Wonder. Laughter. Hope. The world can be better because of what you built in the past. Try to make sure that the things you’re working on push us in the right direction. They don't have to be big projects, they might just have an audience of one. And even if they don’t last: try to make sure they leave something positive behind.”
So our ceremony here today is not the end, but rather the beginning of the rest of our lives. And we will embrace positive change as we set out to achieve our dreams and foster a life full of our desires.
Thank you all, and congratulations to the Class of 2020!