I have no idea

by Samantha
(Marietta, Ga, U.S.)

I don't know where to even begin! I am my school's valedictorian and I have been at my school for nine years (it is a kindergarten through high school school), but I don't know what to say. I have seen my school grow from having no sports to a bunch of sports teams, have seen its name change, have been a part of getting our school accredited, and have seen my graduating class grow from 6 to 26 students over the years (I go to a really small school!). I have seen my school grow a lot and I have definitely grown with it, since I began attending in fourth grade. I have participated in JV and varsity volleyball, am the president of my school's National Honors Society, was the varsity football team's manager, am the team captain for the varsity girls soccer team, and have been actively involved in numerous other clubs. In addition, I went on a mission trip with my graduating class to Nicaragua this past January. I guess some lessons I have learned throughout my high school experience is to take the initiative, be present, make the most of opportunities given to you, and to not be afraid to try new things (for example, I never imagined I would be a football manager until I was asked to do so!). My mom works at my school and my school has meant so much to me considering that I have been going there so long and have become so invested in it. Being valedictorian, I really want to have a really strong speech that makes an impact, but I don't even know where to begin! I would really appreciate any help!

In Reply

Can you have a look at this draft and see if it works for you. It still needs tidy up with real detail about your class and some of their experiences/ successes. However if if generally works I can help you tidy it up.

Principal Hampton, Honored Guests, Graduates and Families

Congratulations to all my class on their graduation.

I must say it has been a real privilege to be part of this amazing class. There are 26 of us and we work together, play together and have succeeded together.

There are many things that make up the character of this wonderful group of people. The obvious one is successful, as we are Graduates and rightly feel a great sense of pride today. Another is togetherness. We really have been together since the beginning of our school days. Although I arrived in Grade 4 I felt that the group took me in and made me feel as if I was always one of them. The fact this school is the only one we needed to attend is part of the reason we have done so well. Another is contribution. Everyone makes a significant and unique contribution. This is a small school so we are used to everyone helping out. However, here the class go out of their way to do something special for others. Sometimes, that contribution just kind of happens as I know when I was asked to be manager of the football team, but we always give our best effort. Yet another is participation. Life is not a spectator sport, everyone takes part in something and gives a great effort. When our school was big enough to provide sports so many of us started playing and I have to say I have loved playing sports like volleyball. One of the last examples is looking outward. We had the most amazing trip to Nicaragua where we learned so much about the local area and people, but we also learned so much about ourselves. Life is about to change in a big way soon and we are increasingly ready for it.

Of course we are a very hard working class with great teachers who we thank for everything they have done. A small school is a close group of people and we certainly have benefitted hugely from our teachers’ hard work and dedication, and also their close interest in us as people and the caring attitude they have to all in our community. Our educational standards have been set high by the school and in the future that will give us the high standards we need to succeed.

Turning to our Graduation ceremony, today is a great occasion for us. Looking out from here it is a real spectacle, seeing everyone in their caps and gown is inspiring, celebratory and also pretty sad that this is our last time together at this special school. Congratulations one more time.

So, what is the thing that binds us, what gives our values, what is the central thing in our lives that defines who we are? I think that is our school. I admit to being a little afraid to leave here and say goodbye to everyone. We are all just like family where we grow, develop, learn, help, teach, argue, learn social skills, make mistakes, talk, have fun, play, explore the world and dream about the future. Here we have learned how to be the right kind of people who are community focused and will always have strong ethics to guide us. I will miss this school as it means so much to my family too with mom working here. I will miss each person enormously. I feel the biggest change of my life coming and it makes me a little sad. But, the future is also on our door step. We can now get going on those fabulous dreams and aspirations we have. It is time to make a new community, new friends and a new place to call home. I expect we will do very well.

Good luck

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Apr 23, 2017
Response to Draft NEW
by: Samantha Grounds

Thank you so much for your feedback! While I have been at my school since fourth grade, there are only like two others in my graduating class who have been here that long. Many just began coming for high school, and we have others who just began attending this year. That being said, I feel a little odd saying "We really have been together since the beginning of our school days. Although I arrived in Grade 4 I felt that the group took me in and made me feel as if I was always one of them. The fact this school is the only one we needed to attend is part of the reason we have done so well." While I have been here for so long and have seen so much change, most of my graduating class hasn't. In addition, even though my graduating class is small, we are not all very close. I feel a little unnatural comparing them to family, so I feel as though that may need to be re-worded. Thank you so much for writing that draft. It is definitely a great start and is helping to get the train of thought going. How would you suggest changing the things that I mentioned? Thanks again!

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