For the past three or four years I’ve thought about what I would say if I ever got the chance to do this speech, but when it came down to it, I was at a loss for words. I used to think I would talk about having big dreams and great aspirations for the future. I also used to count down the days until graduation and dream of when I would finally get to apply for college, but somewhere along the way I started wishing my time here would slow down.

Let me start off by telling you all some things about myself. My name is Blakely, and I moved to Carlisle in the seventh grade. I was nervous and shy, but my class accepted me immediately, which I am really thankful for. I had been to a couple of other schools before, but I never felt like I quite fit in, until I came here. I’m glad I can say that I have made a lot of great memories, like the time we tried to throw a Fall Fest to raise money for prom, but no one even showed up, so we spent the rest of the day hanging out at the park trying to do the mannequin challenge. And I don’t think any of us could forget the first semester of 11th grade English when we all nearly failed because none of us could understand the Scarlet Letter.

Making friends at Carlisle was the easy part, but getting to know the town was a different story. I soon learned that tradition is VERY important here, and I learned that wearing the name “Carlisle” on your tshirt, jersey, or any kind of uniform makes you part of a family. Like any other family, we have our ups and downs, we drift away sometimes, but when times are tough we all have each other to lean on. One of my favorite parts of being a Carlisle Bison, is being able to be apart of Homecoming weekend. I love to see all the Alumni floats and the smile on their faces when they get to reunite with their classmates. It makes me so excited to look forward to the next 50 years for when we get to come back and do what they’re doing. I could not imagine being apart of any other family.

Honestly, I don’t really have any great advice to leave you with that will help you out in the real world. I don’t know what I’ll be doing ten years from now, or if I’ll have everything all figured out. But what I do know is that I will always have this town to come home to. I do know that I will always be a Bison at heart no matter where my path takes me. And I do know that being a Bison means that you have an extra forever family, whether you want it or not. Most of us take for granted how close our community is, but I’ve come to realize that not everyone has the kind of roots we have here in Carlisle. And so, the message I want to leave you with today is to be thankful for the friends, family, and countless others in this community that have helped you succeed until this very day because without them, none of your present and future success would be possible. Thank you.