First of all, I would like to thank you all for coming to our graduation. What this ceremony is, is a celebration of a major accomplishment in our lives, the accomplishment of achieving an education. For many of us it has taken a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to get here, so today is our reward for the long hours we devoted to reading, writing, and researching, for the stress of taking difficult tests, and for the difficulties we have had to overcome. Though this ceremony recognizes OUR efforts in this accomplishment, it also recognizes and pays homage to the dedication of our parents.
Today is the return on the work they invested in us through patient teaching and parenting. We would not have been able to accomplish this much without their help. Their guidance has allowed us to grow into men and woman of character, capable of doing great things. This ceremony is also both an end, and a beginning. It is the end of childhood, of a period of growing and maturing. But, it is also the beginning of a new chapter in our lives, one that is full of the promise of what we may accomplish. While I have the time I want to address the accomplishments of the past as well as the promise and potential of the future.
Graduating is our accomplishment, but we wouldn’t have made it here if it wasn’t for the heroic efforts of our parents. They are the ones who chose to add to their titles of parent, homemaker, and provider, the title of teacher, and with that the responsibility of educating us. They voluntarily took on this extra responsibility, because they felt that personally seeing to our education was best for us, so at the expense of their free time, and perhaps just a bit of their sanity, they decided to home school us. It was this dedication to giving us the best education possible that has brought us here.
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Whenever we struggled in school, whenever we didn’t understand, they did what it took to help us learn, usually, that meant spending even more of the precious little free time they had not already sacrificed to homeschooling, to teaching and relearning every subject that they hated to do when they were in school. When we were frustrated and on the verge of throwing our textbooks across the room, they where the ones who came and spoke the encouraging words that motivated us to overcome whatever trouble we encountered.
As our teachers, they taught us much, but as our parents they taught us even more. Along with giving us lessons in math and science, they have constantly taught us lessons in values. By their example, we have learned to walk with integrity and faith, showing character in all that we do. They have shown us that there is no limit to what we can accomplish when we work diligently and patiently. These values will stay with us longer than anything else that we have learned. No matter where we go, no matter what we do, they will be there to help guide us.
With graduation ends our journey through high school. For many of us, it’s been a long, rough road to get here. Difficulties have come in the form of poor health and injury. Some of us have struggled financially, and all of us have faced the pressure of difficult classes. These trials have not made us bitter, they have not crushed our spirit, but they have helped shape us. Often it turns out that difficulty, strife, and stress are ingredients of strength, for instance steel is one of the most reliable and durable materials known to man.
To make steel, iron ore is heated to a temperature of over one-thousand degrees Celsius, but because of that incredible heat, it becomes strong. It can then be made into almost anything: bridges, skyscrapers, ships, airplanes, tools, machines, even works of art. From the incredible heat it is subjected to, it gains the strength that allows it to be used to anything. The challenges we have faced have strengthened us like the heat strengthens steel. From our adversity, we have learned to overcome, to meet hardship with hard work, hopelessness with faith, and to be unyielding in all of our values.
Now we stand here, as adults preparing to walk out into the world, ready to shape our future, and no matter what path we take in life I know that we will never forget the life lessons that have been taught to us, they will enable us to be successful in all of our endeavors. We are ready to become students with an open mind and a hunger for knowledge, pursuing truth with the aid of the wisdom and discernment impressed upon us by our parent’s teachings, or to become workers ready to excel at our jobs because of the examples set before us in diligence and discipline by our parents and role models. Yes, for us the future looks bright!
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