Pastors, Parents, Teachers, Classmates, and friends.
When I found out that I was Valedictorian, I realized that to qualify for the position, I should probably know how to spell it. In case you were wondering, I still don’t remember how. Thank goodness for spellcheck and the dictionary.
Can you believe it? Four years ago we were the freshmen, the low men on the totem pole. Now, those same four years later, we are leaving the school behind to a whole new crop of people. It has been a four years. Long because of all the drama and bad homework, the boring readings and extra credit projects, and all the other little pratfalls that hit us in high school. Good or bad, long or short, I will always remember this place.
Leaving high school is such an unfamiliar transition, I can’t tell you what this feeling is. Conflicting emotions are swirling--like when you stay up all night to get to the ending of a book, and then find out that you don’t want it to end. I want to graduate and go to college and live my life, but I also want to stay home, be sheltered, and stay where I’m comfortable. I suppose what I really want, more than anything: is to have both.
Thank God He doesn’t always give us what we want.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” Graduation day. This day marks the end of our time here at Copper Canyon Christian School, and the beginning of our independence. But despite how bittersweet saying good-bye is, this is a good day.
This is the day where we confidently stride across the stage towards degrees, a career, and marriage and family. As we accept our diplomas, we will be accepting that whether we like it or not, change has come. There are events that loom in our future that are unfamiliar to us, situations we have yet to encounter. Though I may not know those events right now, I do know how I’ll deal with those life events. I will use the skills and information I’ve picked up through my time here.
In my time here, I’ve done so many things. I’ve learned how to wire electrical lights, I’ve learned how to fish properly, and I’ve even learned how to organize and execute a play for an entire school full of little kids.
In my time here, I’ve also done a few silly things. I don’t think I’m ever going to live down the time I accidentally tripped Mr. Driscoll during basketball, thus causing him to throw his back out for a long time. I still remember the look of shock on half my family and most of my friend’s faces when I cut almost all of my hair off.
I also can’t count how many life lessons I have learned here, learning about how to interact with others, and maybe even more importantly, how to motivate myself without stressing too much. Throughout the course of my school career, there have been many times when, out of stress, I have told myself
“How could you forget something so obvious?” Fortunately, I always motivated myself again. There’s nothing like pretending you’re Sherlock Holmes trying to solve a case to motivate you to remember details.
If you asked my fellow students, they could tell you I often would talk to myself, whispering something like: “Now there is a good grade that’s about to die. The game is on, solve it!”
We’ve been counting down the days until graduation; the days until our freedom. And today is when all the countdowns read zero. Soon, very soon, life will be ours to live. Graduation is when we go out into the world on our own, independent from those on which we used to be the most dependent. We’ll be walking through the fire without our parents guiding us along for every step.
But where would I be without my parents? Dad. You’ve grown in Christ so much in the short eighteen years I’ve known you. You are, without a doubt, the best, and the wisest man I have ever known. If I ever have need of anything, I know exactly who to run to. I want to be a daddy’s girl for the rest of my life.
And Mom. You’ve always been my rock when I needed someone to lean on, the guiding light when I was in the dark. I’m so thankful to have you as my mom. You are strong when you need to be, gentle, caring, and loving. I couldn’t ask for a better woman to raise me.
You both are irreplaceable to me, and there’s nothing I wouldn’t do to make you happy. I’m proud to say that you are my parents.
Though we may now be starting our journey towards independence from our parents, we will never stop loving them, and we will always be their kids.
As we grow more and more independent as the years, or days, or minutes go on, let us become more dependent on God. Let us live our lives, and let us remember that it’s because of His mercy that they are ours to live. Let us remain strong, knowing that even though we’re just setting off, even though we’re fresh out of high school and on our own for the first time, we are not really alone. We are on our own, but not alone. If we remember that, and we remember why that is, we don’t walk towards the dangerous and unknown. We walk towards a further relationship with our savior, towards victory in Jesus. We walk towards our destiny in God. And that is what life is really all about.
While there’s so much to be excited about in our future, it’s important that we keep in mind all of the things we have learned, and all of the immaturity we have now grown out of. We all have had our mistakes, we all have done things that we would rather no one knew about.
But the wonderful thing is, that we all change.
When you think about it, we're all different people all through our lives, and that's good. You have to keep moving, so long as you remember all of the people that you used to be. I will not forget one day of this. Not one day. I swear. I will always remember when the high school student was me.