Basalt High School valedictorians’ commencement address | AspenTimes.com
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Basalt High School valedictorians’ commencement address

Aspen, CO Colorado

Hello, and thank you all for coming. My name is Chiara Del Piccolo and this is Emma Kading, Nicole Booth, Fletcher Richman, and Lauren Emenaker, and we are the 2010 valedictorians. So, a couple of weeks ago, we sat down to write the valedictorian speech, but we didn’t really know what to say. We asked a few people for advice, but it wasn’t especially helpful, because most people only told us what NOT to say. Don’t quote Robert Frost. Don’t read a Dr. Seuss book. Don’t all say the same thing. This was good, but it didn’t really tell us what we SHOULD say. So we figured we might as well start today, where we are. Today, the class of 2010 is graduating into an unprecedented global climate. The United States is recovering from one of the worst financial crises in history. Unemployment rates are high. The world faces climate change and terrorism. The recent oil spill is unlike anything the world has ever seen. Class of 2010, we are graduating into a challenging world. Wherever we go – college, the workforce, the military – we will need a broad range of skills, and they will be tested, but I think we’re up to it. We have the largest graduating class in Basalt High School history, and a broad range of interests and talents. As we go on to face this challenging world, there are a few things we though it would be important to reflect on: education, experience, diversity, and action. Thank you.

Whether this means appreciating, contributing, or accepting, diversity is an important aspect of life. Here in our valley, we have our share of diversity, but beyond our mountains and rivers, there are places with less, and with far more. As we leave a world where our innocence and ignorance as children are often overlooked, we enter a world where our closed minds and unwillingness to accept can ultimately hinder our ability to truly experience life, and the beauty it has to offer. Diversity means culture. It means language, dance, faith, food, music, and art. So when we find ourselves face-to-face with all of that new and exciting culture, in order to appreciate, to experience and to accept it, we must open are minds to the foreign beauty of what is unknown, and give ourselves a chance to embrace and learn from it. Basalt high school, the class of 2010, is just over 100 people out of just over six billion in this world. I hope and expect that most of us will get a chance to experience more diversity in our futures to come.

Life is experience. Everything we have done leads up to creating the people we are today, and the combined power of experience produces our decisions in the future. In this way, we embody what we experience. High school creates many of the memories and experiences that can change a person for a lifetime. This can be anything from progressing through four years of soccer with a group of unforgettable friends to getting your drivers license. It can be as laid back and fun as skiing every weekend or as serious as the high school drama we all know and love. Anything including musical concerts, hut trips, soup kitchens, project citizen, science fair, these and many more mark the impact and growth of our student body. It is truly incredible how many different events can happen during this important time in our lives. It will be remarkable to see what everyone has ended up doing at our class reunions. I am confident that the experience we have gained has created a group of unique people who will go on to do tremendous things. This is the most amazing and impressive thing to consider, every single individual’s experiences as a part of our graduating class, making them who they are. The culmination of all these experiences is almost impossible to fathom, but that is what is standing before you, the class of 2010.

Throughout the last twelve years we have been told over and over how important our education is to us, but until now we have never really understood what that means. In the fall as we begin our life adventure we realize that education is not only important inside of a classroom, but outside one as well. Education is more than grades but about using what you learned and being able to apply it to your life. There is more to learn in life than multiplication tables, Shakespeare, and balancing chemical equations. While these things are important and have gotten us to this place today, there is so much more ahead of us that can only be learned outside the classroom. While education can take on many forms, one theme runs true: to live a truly meaningful life you must educate yourself in whatever way you see fit. It is important as we move on with our lives that we know how to make educated decisions and be proactive in our own lives. Our experiences will only help further our education and show us who we are in a new and exciting world.

The actions we’ve made throughout high school have brought us to where we are today. I only hope that our classes choices and actions will lead us into a bright future. No one can make our future except ourselves. We have the ability to change our present and future by positive actions, but me must chose to act. Too many people in our world today, sit by listlessly and wait for good things to come to them. They are lazy, fearful, or apathetic. With these characteristics, success wont be achieved, happiness will be momentary, and all the available opportunities that we have in this lifetime, will go on un-seized, and diminish. The world is in the hands of our generation; our class of 2010 will go far in life and create a better world to live in. If we chose to, we will all achieve success throughout the future and impress those who helped us along our journey through childhood. Here is to the class of 2010!


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