Basalt co-valedictorians’ commencement address
Editor’s note: Following is the text of the speech delivered Saturday by Basalt High School’s co-valedictorians, Jessie Anderson and Maggie Fitzpatrick. They are among 87 students graduating this year. Of the grads, 43 plan to attend a four-year college or university, 36 will attend two-year colleges or technical institutes and eight are entering the work force.Anderson will attend Denver University and enter the Pioneer Leadership Program. In addition to her academic achievements, she was a longtime member of band and softball in school.Fitzpatrick will attend Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. She intends to major in secondary education with a minor in theater. In addition to her academic achievements, Fitzpatrick was involved in theater, choir and the Interact Club in school.
Good morning graduates, faculty, family and friends. We stand before you today not just as graduates but as sons and daughters, nieces and nephews, friends and best friends. We have all grown up in this small town together, through the thick and thin. Some of us met in pre-school and have been best friends ever since, and some of us have just met. Although we may come from different backgrounds, countries, and cultures, we do share one thing in common. We are all graduating on this beautiful Saturday morning. We are all about to shake a few hands, receive a diploma, flash a smile in our parent’s camera, and take our place in a new, scary, exciting world.Wherever our paths lead, whether the journey to our destination is a straight line, or one filled with zig-zags and sharp turns, or even a complete circle, every experience from here on out is new and ready for the taking.Our class motto states that memories will forever be in our hearts. Our class is one rowdy bunch of kids, and we’ve shared some wonderful times together. These memories include the awkward middle school years when we thought the world revolved around lunch tables and recess. Flying down the sand dunes in Moab was an awesome adventure, even after we found sand in our shoes two weeks later. The mornings we spent freezing to death in Minturn taught us that tents aren’t very well insulated and Minturn is not the place to live in the winter. Walking into the first day of high school scared to death, having no idea what we had gotten ourselves into and messing up our first class cheer in front of the entire student body. Do any of you remember hearing about a certain snake slithering loose through the school vents? Luckily the little guy found his way home by the end of the day.By our junior year, we were rejoicing that our CSAP days were over, only to discover that juniors take ACTS. And that those ones actually count. And last but certainly not least, walking around the outside of the school to our classes while police searched for fingerprints on a car that had found its way onto cinder blocks in the middle of the hallway.Some say that this is the beginning of the rest of our lives, but we believe that this ceremony is only a continuation. We have had 18 years of our lives to learn about our world and ourselves. Now it’s time to use the knowledge and skills we’ve attained to better ourselves and make a difference. As Dr. Seuss once said, “You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So … get on your way!” It’s our time to take chances, risks, and leaps of faith. Time to bet it all and put it all on the line. It’s our time to figure out what we want to do and who we want to become. And although there will always be obstacles that challenge us, just remember that those challenges will make us stronger and will help us reach the goals we’ve always dreamed of.As we take the next step, we should embrace education in our lives. Education is the foundation to every decision we make. Tolerance is the most powerful trait in the world, and one that needs to be adopted. We have no hope of understanding why people do what they do unless we understand the ideas and the feelings behind the actions. Education, coupled with tolerance, can lead the way to world peace.Now, it’s time for us to think on our own, act on our own, and fly away on our own. The world is pushing us to move on, and time is pushing us into adulthood, and although it may be sad to part, our parents know that by letting us fly away, we are embarking on a fabulous journey for which we will laugh, cry, cherish and love with our whole hearts.A teacher of ours once said, we should stop listening to him and start listening to ourselves. We have reached the point in our lives where we need to listen, listen to the world around us, our hearts, our minds, and our footsteps. This is our time graduates, to remember, to listen, and to fly. We leave you with a quote by Edward Koch, “The fireworks begin today. Each diploma is a lighted match. Each one of you is the fuse.”Congratulations Class of 2011, we did it!
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