Editor’s note: This speech has been edited for brevity
Family, friends, fellow classmates, teachers, staff, and guest. Welcome.
We are here today to celebrate a milestone of achievement and a bright future of success. Not long ago, we came in as the underdogs of this school, a rowdy group of teenagers that the teachers fear would cause them to have more patches of gray hair… well the ones that still have any hair left. How time flies, now the same group of rowdy teenagers have grown up (hopefully) ready to leave, stronger, smarter, and eager to run out into the world.
High school gave me a lot of time to think and three questions have constantly entered my mind. “What is the meaning of life? Will I ever be successful?” and “What comes after death?” I have spent countless hours pondering about this and I have come up with some of my own answers.
It’s subjective, what you want and what you choose to do will determine the way you live it. Do not let others tell you what paths to take. Be the best living, sentient being possible. Do what makes you happy, and bring others with you who will lead this world in a better direction. My ultimate goal is to make this planet the closest thing to heaven possible. I want to be able to help people in need, motivate people to strive for their goals, and bring everyone a little closer.
In the media and on social networks, success is based on how many likes you can get on a post, how much money someone has accumulated, and the awards and the frenzy of fans looming over an individual. Do not be obscured by materialism or superficial wants, but search for what ignites your minds and pleases your heart. Some of you might be scared or worry that you might not reach your goals. Don’t let that prevent you from doing something, because then you will never achieve greatness.
Time is our most precious commodity, people can give you riches and power, but they can never give you more time. Everyone here expects to be here tomorrow but that is an assumption, not a reality, and for all I know, I am here now but I might not be here tomorrow. Freshman year, everything was going fine. Then my grandpa passed away, and not long after that, my grandma. I was stricken, not with grief, but with regret. Regret that I will never be able to repay them for taking care of me while my parents worked, regret that I did not appreciate them more, and tell them how much I loved them. My grandparents would probably be sitting right there looking at me today. I don’t know what they would be feeling, but I think it would be pride. Pride that they could see their grandson all grown up ready to accomplish wonders.
Every life will come to an end, but we can live on through our actions and the achievements we leave behind. We choose to live day to day until we perish, or we can choose to live legacy to legacy, leaving behind love, happiness, and meaning.
Take a look at the people around you. You are surrounded by so many family members, friends, people that hold a place in here. Tell them and show them how much you appreciate them.
We are alive at this pinnacle moment of life. Live it with significance and perseverance. Our time here together as students might have ended, but we have a long road ahead of us.
For every path you take, you will reach a destination, and for every destination you make, a new journey begins. And I hope you all take as many paths possible, and I wish everyone unlimited journeys.
Thank you, class of 2016.