GROW valedictorian Madeline Hjelden encourages others to dream

GROW valedictorian Madeline Hjelden encourages others to dream

Dream and take action to achieve success

Madeline Hjelden

GROW (adult)


First of all, I would like to thank the staff at GROW for your encouragement and support along the way.

Madeline Hjelden

GROW (adult)


First of all, I would like to thank the staff at GROW for your encouragement and support along the way.

To my family for being here for me today and to the Lord for giving me the strength I need.

When I was told that Mike (principal Mike      Franklin) wanted to see me in his office, my initial thought was “Oh no, what did I do?”

Being called to the principal’s office in the past was never a good thing.

So when he asked me to be valedictorian and represent the class of 2011, I spent a good 20 minutes in shock.

After the initial shock wore off and I realized I had actually said yes, I became excited because I knew I had done well, where in the past I hadn’t done well in school.

And I became nervous because I knew that it meant I had to not only write a speech, but also get up in front of everyone.

When I was in public school, I wasn’t exactly a “good” student.

I spent most of my time sleeping in class, visiting with friends and planning out my weekend.

I got bad grades and didn’t care because I had no goals.

When at 16 I found out I was pregnant with my wonderful son, my world changed.

The things that I thought were important became trivial and unimportant to me.

I finished the semester off at the public high school then registered at GROW in the fall.

I worked slowly on a couple of courses over the next four years, but when it became imminent that my son would start school, instead of a distant thought, I knew I needed to graduate before he started school.

Working five days a week and raising my son, who loves being involved in sports, while finishing school, has been no easy task, but it is well worth it.

No matter your story, whether it’s been a struggle or a piece of cake, graduating is something you can be proud of.

Graduating is something that opens up doorways. It makes university possible and helps get you get closer to a career you’ll love.

John B. Gough once said: “If you want to succeed in the world you must make your own opportunities as you go on. The man who waits for some seventh wave to toss him on dry land will find that seventh wave is a long time a coming. You can commit no greater folly than to sit by the roadside until someone comes along and invites you to ride with him to wealth and influence.”

We can’t expect things to come easily.

We must always strive for excellence and work for our successes in life.

For me, there is no greater feeling than that of success. When you put time and effort into something and you see it to completion, whether it be graduating from high school or college, or finally finishing that landscaping job you’ve been putting off. We must dream first, then put those dreams into action so that we can become the best we can be.

Congratulations class of 2011, we did it!

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