It’s our time
Welcome president Fleegel, superintendent Sullivan, principal Lybert, vice principal Schroeder, faculty, school board members, family, and friends. I am truly honored to be standing before all of you tonight and am very grateful to be here with each and every one of you whether it be in person or over live stream. I think saying that this year has been full of surprises is an understatement. This year couldn’t have turned out more differently than one expected when we started school in the fall. As I thought about what I wanted to say tonight there were a lot of good things I wanted to touch on before we all go our separate ways. We are living through another historical time in life, being most of us entered right after 9/11. We finished off our senior year dealing with Covid-19 which has been a whole new experience. Instead of focusing on all the negative things that could be talked about during this pandemic I wanted to talk about the positives that have and can come from this. When we stepped into these halls four years ago we were excited, a little nervous, ready to make memories, and grow. Throughout the last four years we have won both academically and competitively through sports, arts, and smarts. As we continue to search for what we are passionate about, let us remember to be responsible and respectful to those helping us along our way in this journey, and lastly, believe in yourself. I want to thank all of our parents for attending our sporting events, concerts, musicals, art shows, science olympiad tournaments, and that’s just to name a few, and for being a part of all our endeavors. We have made memories along with friendships to last us all a lifetime in the past four years. I was excited for senior year as I bet all of you in front of me were. It was a year of some lasts, new beginnings, memories made and full of change. It’s safe to say, and I feel like I speak for a majority of the Class of 2020, that right now we are excited but uncertain about what our future will look like. As we walk off the field tonight, we will all go down our own paths, whether it be onto a four-year college, tech school, the service or entering the workforce. Each and every person here tonight has their own unique path that will have a huge affect on the success we have ahead of us. I think this year has given everyone some time to reflect, grow, figure out what they value, what we may take for granted and how life can change in a blink of an eye. During these past few months we saw our world come to a halt. We were told to stay at home, school was now online, people were panic buying and essential workers were on the “front line”. Small business owners and others were struggling to keep their doors open and everyone had no idea what was to come and how long it would be before we can return back to “normal” again. What we do know was that toilet paper started to fly off the shelves, hand sanitizer became your new best friend and I guess masks may be the new trend. The important thing to take away is that we are the ones that are in charge of how we react to things out of our control. I think there are three things that people can take out of this situation and apply to their lives moving forward.
First, no matter how bad things can get, try to find the positives in them. Yes, that can be easier said than done because it’s easy to get down and start focusing on the negative things present, but I urge you to push yourself to find at least one positive. You see we can’t always control what happens in life, but we can control how we react to it. I think that’s something important for all of us to remember as we move forward into our future. We’re bound to face struggles and hard times, but we also have some great opportunities that lie head.
Next, Class of 2020, we are now in control of our futures and we can make a difference, reshape the stereotypes and prejudices present. As C.S. Lewis once said. “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” Every person here, far beyond those in the Class of 2020 has the opportunity to help shape our future into a bright, positive, and welcoming environment to help others prosper. Our country and the world has been hurting and it is now time to start healing it. We can start doing that by being kind to others, being understanding, encouraging them to go after their dreams, change the status quo, and make a difference no matter how big or small it may be. We can do good things, every person here or listening can, so it’s time to do so and let’s come out of this stronger than before. We have a great opportunity to make change. As Ray T. Bennett once said, “You don’t have to have it all figured out to move forward.”
Lastly, smile! We are the ones that can smile even when we may be frustrated. Working through this quarantine, I realized that some remained hopeful, others felt defeated, others frustrated or lost, and in the end a smile proved to have an affect. Yeah it sounds simple and maybe even a little silly, but really a smile can do a lot more than we know. If you think about it, to smile at someone really doesn’t even take that much effort, but it could end up being life changing. Like I said earlier, we are the ones responsible for how we react and also the choices we make. If there’s only one thing you take away from this speech, let it be simple. Smile. Smile at the person you walk by, the little kid down the street, or even that grumpy person that always has their cup half empty. So as we return to “normal” let our new normal be one unlike our past where our lives got so fast paced, futuristic, and where we took things for granted. Instead, let it be one where we really take in the opportunities presented to us, the memories we get to make, are kinder to those around us, and slow down a little to enjoy things in life.
I would like to thank all of those that have helped and been a part of getting us all to where we are today. I would like to thank all of the staff of the Medford School District for the past 12 or 13 years of teaching us, custodians for making sure our schools stay clean, and the assistants for helping make things run smoothly. I would also like to thank the community for all of their support for our school, students, and functions. Thank you to our coaches and advisors for taking the time to help us do what we are passionate about. Once again thank you to all of our parents for their support over the years.
Lastly, let me leave you with this. No matter what your future holds, remember where you come from, those supporting you, the dreams you have, and who you are. Things will constantly be changing throughout life and they’re going to test you, push you, maybe frustrate you, or leave you feeling proud. In life never stop pushing yourself to reach your full potential, never settle, and don’t ever stop being you. Congratulations Class of 2020 and God Bless.