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Graduates beginning new chapter in life

Editor’s note: Today, The DAILY LEADER continues publication of valedictorian and salutatorian speeches from recent graduation ceremonies at local schools. Today’s address is from West Lincoln Attendance Center Valedictorian Colton Welch.

     Good evening graduates, parents, faculty and guests. To begin with, I would like to thank everyone who has helped me stand here today.

     First, I’d like to thank my parents and family, who have always encouraged me to do my best in school and who taught me the importance of education and hard work from an early age.

     I would also like to thank all of my teachers throughout the years for entertaining my endless questions and comments, and most importantly, for sharing their knowledge with me and with every student at West Lincoln, both in and out of the classroom. From the lectures, to the discussions about life and college, to the simple political debates, you have left all of us with knowledge that we will carry with us as we begin the next chapter of our lives. On behalf of the entire class of 2012, I thank you.

     Finally, I would like to thank all of the staff here at West Lincoln. I would especially like to thank Mr. Case for the constant encouragement and Mrs. Gee, because I know I’ve made your job much more difficult over the past two years.

     To the graduating class of 2012, congratulations, you’ve finally made it.

     Though some of us have been here since kindergarten or first grade and some of us have only been here for a year or two, I don’t think any of us will ever forget our time at West Lincoln. Also, to Mr. Case, you can rest assured that none of us will forget the lesson of the Lion and the Gazelle any time soon.

     Tonight, as this chapter of our lives concludes, another one begins; one that will bring both newfound freedom, as well as newfound responsibility. Whether we enroll in college or enter the workforce, we must all take responsibility for our own actions.

     Despite the fact that our mothers will no longer be around nearly as often as they would like to guide us down the right path, we must stay focused on our education and goals. Although this might seem like a scary path, we must prove to our parents, teachers, and community that as young adults we will make the right decisions, because they have provided us with the tools and instructions to do so.

     We must also remember to never let anyone or anything stop us from achieving our goals. Even when things get tough, as they will at some point for all of us, never give up and always remain hopeful. So long as we remain confident and work hard to achieve our goals, doors will always be opened for us; we need only to seek them out. Once again, congratulations and good luck to the graduating class of 2012.

     Colton Welch is the son of Ricky and Lisa Crosby and Sonny Welch.