This was my salutatorian speech I wrote for my high school graduation. Despite that my target audience was the people in that auditorium, I want to share this because I believe that what I spoke about can be applicable to anyone who hear or read this.
Good afternoon to all my fellow students, teachers, staff, friends, and family members. It is a privilege to speak in front of all of you today as our high school years come to a close. Today, I want to share a message that we can all take with us as we continue on with our life journey.
As 1 Timothy 4:12 states, ‘Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, life, love, faith, and purity.’ For the past four years, I’ve seen the growth and maturity that my fellow classmates and I have shown throughout the years. For the past four years, I am honored to have met people who truly strive to succeed despite what ever circumstances that come in their way. Some students here are first generation high school graduates, and may I say that I am ever so proud! Being the first in your families to graduate and pursue a higher education is incredibly admirable. Some students here lack certain opportunities that many of us take for granted, but instead of quitting, their diligence allows them to endure all things. Let us set the bar high for the generations that will come after us so that our children and children’s children may surpass even our greatest accomplishments. We shall be examples to all people-young and old- for we all possess a great amount of influence. Just because we are young does not mean we cannot make a difference. We are the future leaders of this nation and in order to properly lead, we must stand our ground in what we believe in. Let us be like unshakable trees that are rooted into the ground all the days of our lives.
Everyone here has a story. From the shyest to the most outspoken person in this room, we all have stories to tell. Stories that may be painful that many of us may not ever want to remember again. Some stories are full of joy that makes us smile whenever we remember how beautiful they are. Accomplishments are also part of our stories for it is a testimony of what we have done in our lives. Every single person in this room has the potential to do great things- achievements that are far greater than what you or your parents can ever imagine. I have met people with such potential and wow, I can only imagine the great things you all can do in this world. We do not need to be the smartest people in the world to accomplish big things. What we need is a perseverant heart, one that is willing to endure what ever challenges that come in our way. Si se puede! (and this is where people thought I was done, but not just yet.)
Look around. The people you are looking at are potential life changers. In one way of another, we will influence people, intentionally or unintentionally. Let us use this influence to promote encouragement and make this world a better place to live in. Let us not be content with how we are living now, but instead, strive for the best and follow our dreams. A young boy once asked his father why the sky is blue. The father, with such wisdom, replied, ‘Because it’s only as far as we can see’. In moments of doubt, seeing the entire picture rather than a little portion can encourage us to pursue even our greatest dreams.
Today, we will graduate from high school. As we go on to college, the work force, or the military, a new chapter of our lives will unfold. As we all go our separate ways, let us not forget the lessons we learned. Never forget where you came from so that when you are feeling discouraged, you can look back and see how much you’ve matured. Let us not be like everyone else, but instead rise above and beyond expectations. Chase your dreams, do great things, encourage one another, and live your lives to your absolute potential.
As I close, I want to mention a quote that was said by one of the greatest person I have ever met. ‘I am made to break the norm, change the wrong, and fix the broken’. Let us all strive to be that kind of person- a person who is firm enough to stand their ground in what they believe in; a person who will use his/her influence to change the world.
I want to congratulate all Aspira Early College seniors for making it to the final chapters of our high school life. This, however, is not the end. Our stories are still being written. As we continue the next chapters of our lives, let us make our stories a legacy worth telling. Thank you.