Wow. Going into High School, this was not the ideal situation. Why did no one tell me that taking AP Classes and having a fear of grades lower than an A would result in speaking in front of a thousand people? Seriously, this is terrifying. If someone ever tells you to just picture everyone in their underwear- call them a liar. It DOES NOT help. Terrible advice.

But in all seriousness, Congratulations, Class of 2017. We have been through quite a bit together. We survived the CHS flood and the shark that was spotted in the parking lot. We survived Mr. Hawkins telling us the word Character and reminding us to make our bed. We survived the Harlem shake, the mannequin challenge, dabbing, and an endless number of memes. But above all, we survived High School. All in all, it wasn’t too bad. There were the occasional nights where I’d have to write a paper for Mrs. Medlin, study for AP Bio, and somehow read a chapter for AP World History. I remember those kinds of nights extremely well because I would repeatedly promise myself that I would not procrastinate on doing assignments. Let’s just say, that promise has yet to have been fulfilled. I had plenty of laughs and made memories that I will never forget. Mr. Davis’ math songs will be forever trapped in my head. Mrs. Medlin dressing up as Hester Prynne from Scarlet Letter is my favorite moment of AP Lang. Ms. Mills keeping a list of all my insults is a life accomplishment. Mr. Daugherty roasting me never gets old. It’s okay though, he’s already gotten pretty old himself. Torin’s ridiculous and sometimes disturbing humor resulted in many tears in many of my classes. Sharjeel’s endless supply of memes and daily Bushisms is something to be proud of. There is not a day that goes by that he doesn’t show my friends and me a quality meme. Connor’s trash can throwing antics still make me laugh. Chance is the friend that I’m gonna be stuck living with for the next 4 years in college. Really hoping he doesn’t keep his promise of speaking Spanish to me the whole time. Lili was the best prom date and AP Stat partner I could have ever had. Chance is the kind of best friend thLucas’ incredible way of shutting down my video game rage has been more than helpful. Amin’s awful driving motivates me to never trust him behind the wheel of something, even an electric go kart. Michael is going to be the next multi-talented superstar known for singing, comedy, and googling YouTube videos on how to dance for Prom. Since this is our last ceremony, I’d like to interrupt it just for a moment to congratulate Jared Gilliam just one last time on his 36 on the ACT. And Amin, good job on your 35.25. You almost had it bud.

I’d like to take a moment and thank everyone who made this accomplishment possible. Mamá y papá: sin so sacrificio y apoyo incondicional, no hubiese logrado esto. Estoy muy agradecido de ustedes, porque han sido los mejores padres del mundo. Nunca se me olvidará todo lo que han hecho por mí. Carlos and Carol. The best siblings I could ask for. You have provided me an endless amount of advice and guidance. Without the examples you have given me, I would not have achieved this honor.

Thank you, Cabot High School for the memories. I know my speech isn’t going to change all of your lives. But if I can get to a few of you, then I consider this successful. We are all in the midsts of moving on to bigger and better things. That doesn’t necessarily mean going on to college or work. Anything really. Time has gone by extremely fast. I can’t believe we’re graduating. Congratulations! But we are not finished yet. It is what we do after today that defines our lives. Eighteen years of getting older and learning the way the world works has made us who we are. Some of us are still searching for ourselves, and that’s fine. We all live our lives with a lot to prove and lose. We have the rest of our lives to live and we’ll make it through whatever happens. We need not hide from the future, we need to believe we will achieve greatness.

We need to bid farewell to the struggles of our past and look on to what’s next in our lives. Our greatest enemy is ourselves. The biggest fears of our lives can come true if we let them. We cannot allow ourselves to limit our destinies. There’s more to life than simply staying complacent and passive. It’s time to let it all go. We are all small town kids that have dreams. Don’t wait a lifetime to ask what if. Affect change and become a symbol of hope or courage. Even if you’re not the adventurous kind, there is passion and potential within you. Here’s to the life lessons that we will eventually learn. No matter what you do, if you feel that what you left behind on the world is beautiful, you succeeded. Congratulation Class of 2017. Our time has come.