Arlene Antrim, GROW/Skyline valedictorian, provided this speech during the GROW/Skyline graduation ceremony:
Good evening ladies and gentleman, friends and family, teachers and administrators. We stand gathered together to celebrate the accomplishments of the 2012 class of Skyline. We stand poised at the very edge of graduation. We began high school as children, but we’re leaving as adults. We’ve completed a basic education that will serve as a platform we use to launch ourselves into our futures.
Some of us will go on to university; others will go straight into the workforce. … No matter where we go or what we do, there are challenges ahead of us. What I’m asking from each of you, and from myself, is to meet those challenges straight on with your head held high and your heart wide open.
We may not have the power to inspire the entire world to strive for success, but we do have the power to try to achieve it for ourselves. We have worked hard to get to this point, but we didn’t do it by ourselves. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the following people. To our parents and guardians, thank you for supporting us in more ways than it’s possible to count. You commiserated over our daily dramas, but you tried to give us enough space to learn how to work things out for ourselves.
As a parent, you supported us even through the bad times; you did great at making us succeed in life. These are just a few of the thousands of things that you have done for us to support our journey. Thank you. And also a big thanks to our teachers, principal, and office staff. Thank you for unselfishly sharing your time and knowledge with us. Yes, we know it was your job to do it, but what you did for us went beyond the call of duty.
You took the time to explain assignments, sometimes repeatedly because we weren’t paying attention. You put in the effort to make lessons more interesting so we wouldn’t tune out. You demanded excellence from us whether or not we wanted to give it. You set the bar high and challenged us to live up to it. We are very grateful for everything you have done for us.
So as you can see, behind each graduate there have been many people providing support in more than a dozen ways. The best we graduates can show our gratitude is to make the most of the opportunity we’ve been given, and to forward it into the world with the intention of making it a better place for the generations that follow us.
We’ll pay the debt of gratitude forward. From what I have learned and I now know I will teach my loved one. Three years ago, my life took a turn that changed my life for the better. I was given a gift. I had no idea that this gift would complete my entire life until the day I received it. I was given a beautiful baby boy July 3, 2009 named Brysin Caden.
The first time I saw your face, I felt flooded by sun rays that day. I knew from that day it would be all about you. I’m so proud of how you’ve grown, and in ways you’ve made me grow, showing me what motherhood and life is really about. When Brysin got older, I knew it was getting close for me to put myself back on track.
I knew my son deserved the world and I know I will fight my way through everything so I can give it to him.
I registered for school here at Skyline, so I, as a mother, could give the brightest future I knew my little one deserved.
Finishing school was not an easy task. Skyline helped me work around my schedule, because my schedule was hectic, but I managed to meet the requirements that needed to be completed for myself and my son’s well being.
I am now on the right path to a successful life to give to him.
Post secondary will help me to meet my and Brysin’s goals to continue our journey.
It was never easy to get as far as I got, but my plan is to go even farther.
So I have recognized that for many of us it has been difficult to keep up with our studies, but our perseverance has enabled us to overcome many obstacles that led to this night and it will be our resilience that will keep us from ever failing in our future.
Believe me, never let anyone or anything stop you from accomplishing your goals. Stay confident and remember there will always be an opportunity if you seek it.
On the behalf of Skyline Class of 2012, I congratulate you all on your accomplishments and I hope you have the best of luck with your future ventures, may it be right after graduation or in another four short years.
And in time …. we will be … the economists that make sure we never go through a recession … the scientist that will find alternative energy sources and … the educators that will train the next group of leaders.
Whichever path we choose, we will forever share a common bond of being the graduating class of Skyline 2012.