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Stage set for 2010 graduates to soar

Editor’s note: The DAILY LEADER concludes its publication ofvaledictorian and salutatorian speeches given during recent highschool graduations. Today’s address is from Kimberly Kolpek,salutatorian from Wesson Attendance Center.

Change is inevitable. What is life but change? Change oftenbrings us tough goodbyes, but after time, it makes us stronger andwiser. No matter the circumstances or difficulties we face, changebrings new beginnings. It creates a moment in which we can reflecton what we’ve accomplished and look forward to what is to come.

Walking in Mrs. McLemore’s room in the fourth grade on my firstday of school at Wesson was a huge shock to me. The new faces andnew town, as small as Wesson is, overwhelmed me and stirred up thebutterflies in my stomach. I was too shy to make new friends oreven raise my hand in Mrs. Raney’s class.

It took some time, but I made friends with pig-tailed girls andfound interest in the spaghettio-stain faced boys. It was then thatI met the people I would spend years with, years full of movienights, field days and homecoming weeks. We went from learning towrite in cursive together to writing College English termpapers.

We watched each other progress from the “he’s got cooties” stageto the awkward head over heels teenage love era. Cubby holes werereplaced with lockers, and our single file right side of the halllines disappeared along with coloring boxes.

Through all the changes, we’ve grown to be dependent on oneanother. I know just who to go to when I need a good laugh or whowill listen to me when I’m feeling down. Each of us is unique andimportant, and together, we create a strong bond that’s made ofmore than scholars and athletes. We began as strangers in historyclass, but we have grown together as one. From snow days, SpringBreak trips and nine weeks test study nights to Senior parades andchalking the new gym parking lot for our last day of senior year,we’ve found people that we love.

I will never forget the fun times we shared together during ouryears at Wesson Attendance Center. This evening, I encourage myclassmates to remember the good times, grow from the changes wefaced, and soar out into the real world with hope, purpose andambition.

Kimberly Kolpek is the daughter of Ken and Suzanne McQuage.