Addresses by top academic-ranked students
Welcome to everyone, family and friends, who have come to celebrate the achievements of the Gothenburg High School Class of 2014. It is an honor to speak in front of you.
Mr. Evans, would you be so kind as to take a picture for me? . . . Thanks!
Well good afternoon everyone! I’m Trenton Long, and I’m blessed to say that I am graduating today with this great group of seniors.
This senior year for me has truly been one to remember, and that is because of the many friends that I have sitting before me. I believe that this group has been extremely successful all across the board: from the speech team winning districts to the girls track team winning the southwest conference meet three years in a row.
This is not to say that the road to success hasn’t been bumpy. Our class motto is “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” We all have had our ups and downs in our life, but what will define you is how you get back up. There have been times where it was easier to just give up and move on, but our resilience and hard work ethic pushed us to achieve what may have been far fetched, out of reach.
Now we didn’t do this on our own. I want to thank all of the GHS staff, administration, and I especially thank our parents for giving us the opportunity to be successful. What is an able body without guidance? That is what our parents, teachers, administration, coaches , and mentors are for! It isn’t a complete practice unless I hear Coach Lathrop say, “Swedes win yay,” or Coach Koehler saying “Engage Brain,” and what is a Friday without a high-five from Mrs. Whiting?
These individuals have made a lasting effect on all of our seniors. I will never forget the midweek football practice this year after we lost our first game to Ogallala. In the huddle at the end of practice, Coach Haake said, “If you want to end up going 2-6 and checking in your pads after Kearney Catholic, then keep this up.” You bet that Blake and Adam weren’t very happy about that. “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” That, along with countless other moments, will stay with me forever.
Now that we have made it this far, it is time to take all that we have learned from the wonderful people here in Gothenburg, and apply it to the future. There have been many Swedes that have made an impact in the world, now it is time to make ours.
If you would please bow your heads as I conclude with a prayer:
We thank you for all of the opportunities that you have presented us. Each person in this graduating class is celebrating a great time in their life. With the end of this phase, we ask you to help us in making future decisions and to keep us safe. We pray that we have great times celebrating with friends and family, and we pray that all visitors get home safely. Amen.
“Never set limits, go after your dreams, don’t be afraid to push the boundaries. And laugh a lo-t, it’s good for you!”
These words of Paula Radcliffe only begin to touch the surface of what the class of 2014 has become capable of over the past four years. Throughout the moments of disappointment and moments of triumph, this class has refused to confine themselves to the boundaries set before them . There are a multitude of characteristics displayed by our class that have helped us become the determined, unique, confident, world-changing, and successful people you see sitting before you today.
We aren’t stubborn; we are determined. Determination is defined as one’s firmness of purpose or resoluteness and, although it is probably true that this could go hand in hand with stubbornness, I believe that our class has an admirable amount of determination.
Not only has this aided with our traditional successes, such as football, speech, or track, but our nontraditional ones as well. We are very diverse in our hobbies, interests, and goals, but we have an uncanny knack to be successful at whatever it is we choose to pursue; I believe this is not due to luck or talent but to an incredible amount of hard work, perseverance and determination.
If we continue to use this determination as we begin to take the next steps of our lives (and I am confident that we will), it is inevitable that we will make a difference in the worlds and lives we surround ourselves with, especially with our unique personalities.
Because we aren’t freaks, we are unique. But first, let me take a selfie. Great (and Etcetera). That one is going on Facebook. And I am sorry if I don’t exactly tag all of you in it...There really are a lot of us.
Looking at this picture, I see so many faces that have accomplished so many different things throughout our lives thus far. From the jocks to the theater kids and everyone in between, these traits have made us who we are today. Now is the time to take those little unique things that make us “us” and use them to show the world exactly who we are and how much we have to give to the new situations we will find ourselves in this next year and beyond. Now we have to stand confidently and not let anybody tell us that that isn’t true.
We aren’t cocky, we are confident. As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face .”
Over the past four years, the class of 2014 has not only faced these fears but has overcome them. In a testament to confidence, I believe that our class has stepped up to the plate and used our confidence to succeed.
For example, Gothenburg High School has been awarded the girls Southwest Conference Cup (an award that includes everything from quiz bowl to volleyball) for the first time in history. While cockiness has many downfalls, used in the right way it is not cockiness, it is confidence, and the sportsman-like confidence our class displays will take us far in the future and help us change the world.
We don’t live in the world; we change the world. The class of 2014 has learned how to take a Schmitty situation and make it grow flowers.
When we first began our high school careers, the upperclassmen weren’t the nicest to us little freshman. We have changed that. The way this senior class views underclassmen is as peers rather than prey.
Other changes have been made in the area of extracurricular activities. We have created new records and set new standards. This class has also seen the creation and growth of new opportunities for student involvement.
Why should we stop now? Yes, we are going off to begin a new chapter in our lives, but we don’t have to stop making changes. We can continue to step out of our comfort zone, stretch ourselves; learn, grow, and transform.
Today, looking back at our high school careers, we did something big, but just wait to see what we do tomorrow.
The Class of 2014 at Gothenburg High School could easily be described as overachievers, but reflecting back on us now we aren’t overachievers, we are dreamers.
Yes, our dreams have most definitely changed over the years, though they are inspirational now. There is absolutely nothing wrong with desiring to become something outstanding in our lives, and for that reason we are and will continue to be successful.
Having the courage to express who we are, what we want to become, and our dreams takes quite a bit of integrity; and that integrity is what makes us successful.
Out of the 68 classmates that sit before me, I guarantee that numerous (if not all) of us will continue to pursue our dreams. Whether that be becoming a doctor, an engineer, traveling the world, or starting a family; all of these are dreams that are attainable due to our desire to further ourselves in our lives. For it is known, that those that achieve in life are those that don’t stop trying, those that expect more out of themselves, and those that ultimately keep their eyes on their dream. Therefore, going over the top isn’t a burden, but rather an asset for our future.
A quote by Mother Theresa I believe perfectly applies to this class states, “Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.”
Therefore, as we receive our very anticipated diplomas today, flip our tassels to the left, and walk out these door for the last time together, Class of 2014, I challenge each and everyone one of us to be determined, be unique, be confident, make your impact in the world, and never quit dreaming.
There will be times of failure, though nothing in life is worthwhile unless you take a risk. Make sure to fall forward for every failed attempt gets you one step closer to your dream. Failures are what change you for the rest of your life. Every person in life fails so accept it, learn from it, and continue forward in your desired direction of your dream.
Thank you class of 2014 for the unforgettable memories, it has been quite an unforgettable ride! I would like to leave you today with this quote to reflect upon. “Desire is the key to motivation, but its the determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal—-a commitment to excellence—-that will enable you to attain the success you seek.”—Mario Andretti. Thank you.
I would like to thank all of you who are here today to join us in this momentous event.
When I look at all of the individuals in front of me, it reminds me of what has made this class and year so special. As I think about all of my classmates I am reminded that we have truly achieved the most as a group. From a football team that played in the third round of playoffs for 3 years in a row. To a volleyball and softball team that saw both continued success and some of the best seasons in history. Continued successes in Speech, One Acts, Science Olympiads, and FFA just cemented accomplishments and contributions from the Class of 2014.
I think that almost all of us would agree that nearly none of this success would have been possible without the combined teamwork and all of the support that we have had from all of you here today.
I think that today has very little to do with the piece of paper that we will receive or that this stage in our life is coming to a close. Life rarely has anything to do with the end product. It’s the process that makes the people. We all are running the same race we merely finish at different times.
The key is to choose to enjoy the process of getting there. We learn to appreciate those that are running around us and learn to run together.
Life is a team game. The greatest team game of all. This group of people in front of you today is a great example of how people can come together to achieve great things. Even as our plaques tarnish or medals fade, the teams and people remain. As I leave you, I ask you to do one thing. Invest in people. They are what makes life worth living.
Everyone that we come in contact with has an effect on us, just like we do on them. It is our choice to decide what that effect will be. Positive or negative. Be the spark that ignites others. Be the change that affects others and leave your legacy wherever you go. Class of 2014 we made it.
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