Time for grads to chart own course

Published 7:14 pm Thursday, June 17, 2010

First and foremost, I would like to give God the glory forallowing me to stand before all of you and deliver the salutation.I am both honored and privileged to be speaking to all of youtonight, and I can only hope Katy has taken time out of her perfectday in heaven to listen in and watch us graduate. I am here becauseI had the determination to never let any problems I had affect mycapacity to succeed, and my fellow classmates, so are you. It’s akind of bittersweet feeling knowing all our stress through highschool has finally paid off and, at the same time, knowing thattonight is the last night the Class of 2010 will be together as awhole.

Time is a funny concept; there were days we sat in class staringat the clock thinking the bell could not ring soon enough as iftime had stopped altogether, yet it seems like just yesterday wewere starting kindergarten with our Ked’s and Power Ranger lunchboxes unknowingly meeting the people who would leave footprints onour hearts forever. Time is the worst kind of thief; it stealsruthlessly from us every day. It may seem to drag by slowly, butsure enough, in a flash, it’s gone. Tonight marks the end of ourLoyd Star experience, the end of our past 13 years – the 13 yearsthat we thought were so incessant were never incessant at all. Timewon’t stop. All we can do is live for the moment – make everyminute count. I think I can safely say, the Class of 2010 has madeevery minute count, hence our unbreakable friendships and pricelessmemories.

I have memories with every single one of my classmates -graduating or not – and I know I will never be able to rememberevery day in detail that I spent with everyone here tonight, but Iwill always remember the friendships and the bonds that hold ustogether, the laughs we shared, and the lessons we learned. Thearguments and gossip will soon fade away if they haven’t already,but the smiles and laughs and time we had together are permanentlysketched onto our hearts and minds forever. The decisions, good andbad, that we made along the way have made us who we are, and I loveeach and every one of us, not because we are perfect but because weare all perfectly imperfect. I will always be able to look back onmy years at Loyd Star and smile. I’ll think back to Leebo trippingme every time I walked past him and Brooke always being there tolisten to my problems and laughing with me uncontrollably on thesidelines. I’ll never be able to forget any of our cheer camps -especially MC when we completely disobeyed Ms. Clara when she toldus lights out at ten.

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Now, though, all that’s over, and here we are – all grown up andgraduating, but what exactly is graduation?

Well, it’s the night we celebrate making it out of school in onepiece, and it unfortunately marks the time to begin that inevitabletransition from the comfort and security of high school to theuncertainty of the real world. It’s also the night to celebratewith friends who have also tackled this seemingly interminable feat- the same friends who were there when we were 5 years old, thefriends who have countlessly wiped our tears when we thought theworld was over, and the friends who pulled us up again to show usthat indeed nothing is ever as bad as it seems. Graduation is anaccomplishment, something to be respected and appreciated, anintimidating change, and an event to be treasured and valued. Ofcourse we are happy and proud of ourselves, but at the same time weare anxious and maybe even scared, so we’ll turn to each other onelast time before we venture out into the world and start our ownlives.

Some of us will go to college, others will go to work. Soonenough we will have families of our own and start experiencing thisthing people call “responsibility.” We will all come to knowsuccess because success is not measured by the amount of money wewill earn. It is measured by the way we spend each and every momentGod has given us. Time is always going to steal from us, but it canonly truly steal from us if we sit back and watch the world go by.The time we had here at Loyd Star has passed, but the memories willlive on in our hearts forever, so live every moment, laugh everyday, and love beyond words, and you will become as successful asyou want. No matter what we do after we leave here tonight, let’smake it count.

There is not a finer class to graduate with, and I am proud tocall myself a graduate of 2010.

Carleigh Engels is the daughter of Tommy Engels and ChristyWade.