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graduation speech

2001-05-30<>9:26 a.m.

last night was graduation (as you know already) and this was the speech that i presented. hurray for me!

When Mrs. Stuart told me that they picked the nicest, most sincere person to speak at graduation, I was flattered, but then I realized that she was talking about Stephanie Heiser. When she told me that they picked the funniest, most witty person to speak, I was extremely pleased, but then I realized that she was talking about Scott Brackett. When I asked her why they picked me, Mrs. Stuart told me that it was because I am definitely the cutest.

Nevertheless I am greatly honored to be able to speak here tonight. Thank you.

After twelve years of schooling, the last four being high school, we are ready to move on. We have learned about academics, self-discipline, and life. Now, after we graduate, we will be putting these skills to the test. Some of my fellow classmates, like me, will be going away to school next year. We will be away from our friends, our families, our towns, and everything else we know. Most of us grew up in Northern California, and anyone who has traveled knows that the rest of the United States, the rest of the world even, is different. The Cities are larger, the people are more mixed than what we have here in Northern California, and the cultures are definitely more diverse. Next year, some of us are going away for school. We will be spread out from Southern California, up to Oregon, over to New York, down to Florida, and everywhere in between. Also, many of us will continue to study here at Shasta�a campus we have all grown to love. But no matter what happens or where we go, we all have at least one thing in common: we have already tasted the college experience together.

Some famous (and probably dead) guy once said, "Today is the first day of the rest of your life." Well, my friends, that's exactly it. Not just are we preparing for college net year, but we are preparing for the rest of our lives. We all have high expectations for ourselves in the future. Just in this class, we�ve got future doctors, lawyers, and who knows, we might even be so lucky as to have the next Queen Elizabeth in here. Only, I�m pretty sure you have to be born into that position� so probably not. In fact, I�m so confident in our future that I wouldn't be surprised to see some of our graduates attain fame and notoriety. All of these students, all of us up here on stage tonight, have more than enough charisma, intelligence, and character to get us where we want to go in life, to accomplish something significant.

I attended my sister's high school graduation last year, and it seemed as if all the speakers put life into some kind of bizarre metaphor or simile. "Life is like a piggy bank, you save up your money (that'd be knowledge), and then spend it all on a new car� (I don't know what the car represented, but I do know that a couple of us could use a new one right now). Another overworked metaphor would be the one where "You are all butterflies, and high school was the phase in your life where you built your chrysalis. It has since turned all ugly and brown and hardened, and now, you are emerging as a beautiful butterfly, ready to spread your wings and go off on your own. Just be careful when crossing the street or that bright blue Chevy Nova will come out of nowhere and hit you, then you'll be nothing more than a couple square inches of bug guts and pollen on the windshield of life." I couldn't think of one clever enough to compare to what we know as life, but I did do a lot of thinking, and it made me realize that the future is a lot like Oregon and whatever is north of there.

Yes, right now, we are standing at the Oregon border on the "road trip on I-5 from Mexico to Canada" of life. The Mexican Border is like birth, I guess. Heading up from Southern California to about Sacramento (this would be growing up, I think) the freeway is pretty straight; just try not to get a speeding ticket as you try to grow up too fast. Our high school years would probably be the stretch of freeway from Redding to Yreka. There are a lot of twists and turns. Many people have accidents and there are many times when you just want to quit and call a cab, but when you hit that high desert plateau thingy between Mt. Shasta and Weed, you realize that you're still alive, and that you can do it! You can make it up to Canada! Standing here tonight, if you�ll allow me to extend my analogy, we�re somewhere up at the Oregon border. Why there? Because that's as far north as I've ever been. I don't know what the road is like after that. Okay, as a technical note, those of you who have driven up I-5 past Oregon, just play along with me so as not to ruin my beautifully :::cough cough:::: crafted metaphor. We are in Oregon (or somewhere along the border) and we are headed for Canada. Yeah, anyway, that is what it's like. Life� the future. We will keep on learning about the automobiles we drive (that would represent something like understanding ourselves). We will continue to pick up hitchhikers (that symbolizes friends and loved ones). We will go on to explore places we have never been. This Oregon border place is probably one of the most important stops we have made so far on this entire trip. And from what I have heard the road trip only gets better as we head into Oregon and Washington.

Our future is now, tonight. For some of us, this is our last night at Shasta College. But when all of us walk out of this auditorium, we will be taking that all important first step to forever. I know that each and every one of us will be successful in whatever we do. But to extend the metaphor just once more, I would like to take the words of T.S. Elliot in �The Wasteland.�

�the human engine waits/like a taxi throbbing waiting,� so class of 2001, what are you waiting for? Revs your engines and prepare for the trip of a lifetime. Congratulations and good luck on your future travels.