Basalt seniors share their experiences |

Basalt seniors share their experiences

Graduating seniors at Basalt toss their caps. (Jim Paussa/The Aspen Times)

BASALT The following are speeches that were delivered by Basalt High School graduates at Sundays commencement ceremony.

People who know me, and most of those who don’t, are aware of my ineffectiveness as a public speaker, and having to do this seems unfortunate seeing that it highlights that defect. And as far as those types of speeches go, I have nothing special to say except that, over the years, I have been able to grow and develop and a human being. Through my experiences, I have become more confident in myself and more conscious of the world around me. It’s the experiences everyone goes through that provide an opportunity for change and growth. In the course of a life, an individual can mature as I have done, the world can change, societies can grow, and all people can look to the future for good things to happen.

A great man once said, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced” (James Baldwin). This quote embodies what we have done in the past to be where we are today. All of us have come across obstacles and encountered hardships. I’m sure that we can all remember that first day of kindergarten, when we were all torn away from our mothers. We cried at the change that lied before us. We were struck with fear once again on the first day of middle school when we were told there was only one recess! Life is full of change, but until we have faced the challenges that lay before us, we can never change. The class before you has confronted these challenges and grown through them. We have all changed for the better through our experiences in life. Congratulations to the class of 2007, and thank you all that have helped us on our journey.

As we end this small phase of our life, we enter a world in desperate need of positive influence. Global warming, the gas crisis, the AIDS pandemic and civil injustices all threaten our global society. Tupac Shakur once said, “And still I see no changes, can’t a brother get a little peace, there’s a war on the streets and a war in the Middle East, instead of a war on poverty.” He said this over 10 years ago, but I also must still say, I see no changes. Our society is quick to shun external problems, as we instead focus on the chase of our personal dreams. I challenge our class of 2007 to rebel from the trap of mindless consumerism and superficial problems, and take a stand to better our world.

As you move through life, I believe you will find that change is the only constant.It is the one thing that you can always count on. This world and the people in it will always be changing. Mohammed Ali once said that the man who sees the world the same way at 50 as he did at 20, wasted 30 years of his life. Don’t be afraid of change. It can be, and usually is, good. And when it is bad, we learn from it. You will change. Day by day, week by week, year by year. It is our experiences that shape us and make us who we are. You will be a different person tomorrow than you are today, especially after an occasion as momentous as this one. The changes are slight but significant. Be careful, and make sure you like the person you are or where you came from. Don’t forget the faces you see around you today, because they are the ones that me you who you are now. Congratulations class of 2007.

Change happens on all different levels. Most can say that a great deal of influence comes from the group they associate with. Many changes have happened during our educational experience. Our country has seen ups, our country has seen downs. I remember the worst tragedy in American History, September 11th. I walked into school knowing very little about what was happening and walked out into a completely different country and world. Our class has seen a lot of changes already in the world, and now one can say the world will be the same as it is today in 10 or even five years. Our class has the potential to make progress out of the changes we will see. Know that you must work with the changes, class of 2007, and we can all have influence over our society. As Ghandi once said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Congratulations.

Today is the day our changes begin for the future. Soon we’ll be leaving home, this small town that has sheltered us all these years. We’ll say goodbye to the people we know and love and go to live on our own. With this change comes new responsibilities, like feeding ourselves and keeping ourselves healthy. Soon everything will be unfamiliar – as an individual and on a greater scale. But meet these changes head on. We’re going into the real world as adults now, and even though this change may seem overwhelming, it presents new opportunities to learn and grow as human beings. Congratulations, class of 2007.

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