Determination plays big role in grads’ success

Published 8:00 pm Thursday, June 21, 2012

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 Enterprise Attendance Center Salutatorian John Ellis Williams.

     Good evening friends, family and faculty and welcome to the graduation of the class of 2012.

     On behalf of the graduating class, I would like to thank you all for your presence at this very important event in our lives.

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     In preparing my salutatorian address, I began to think of how great an honor the title of salutatorian must be to hold and how ironic it was that I was having to finish one last assignment before I received my high school diploma.

     I struggled through several different ideas on what I would say and how I would say it and, in good senior fashion, waited until the last second to write my speech. Ultimately, I decided the best way to express what I wanted to say would be through thanks, so here it goes …

     To begin I would like to thank our families that have pushed us to do our best and brought us to this point. Without your hard work, patience and dedication, we as a class would not be here and we thank you for putting up with us. As I looked for something to say to the parents in the audience, I ran upon a quote by an unknown author that seemed to stick out to me. “If at first you don’t succeed, do it like your mother told you.” Parents, thank you for guiding us through our high school years, and to my parents in particular, thank you for everything you’ve done.

     As I thought about what to say to the faculty of Enterprise Attendance Center, I decided that I couldn’t settle on just a simple thank you. So I decided to talk about a few of my favorite teachers in particular.

     Who could forget Mr. Jason Frazier or Mrs. Diane Crotwell, whose crazy antics and friendly attitudes we’ve grown accustomed to seeing every day as we walked the halls of Enterprise. Or what about Mrs. Mandy Bayless who, depending on what class period you had her, was either an angel sent from God Himself or the wicked witch of the South. And who could forget Mrs. Rebecca Knight, who from the first day we walked into her class as juniors, drilled history into our unsuspecting heads – yet in a way that no one could ever be angry with her. In all seriousness, I would like to thank the entire faculty of Enterprise Attendance Center for their hard work and patience on behalf of the class of 2012. We love you, we’ll miss you and we thank you for everything.

     Now to the graduating class of 2012. It’s been five years since I moved to Enterprise, but I couldn’t think of any other group I would want to spend those years with. We may not have been the most studious group in the history of Enterprise, or the largest, or the quietest, but the class of 2012 has something that many other groups lacked: determination. We finally made it, it’s almost time. Almost time for our names to be called, to walk the aisle to receive our diplomas, to move on from this point in our lives, to go on to bigger and better things. Good luck in your futures, hold your heads high and achieve your goals.

     When thinking about how I would end my speech I thought about doing several different things, that was until I was informed that I wouldn’t receive my diploma until after graduation, so I reconsidered. I decided to end on this. High school is like a sucker; it looks sweet from the outside, takes forever to get through it, gets sticky at times, but overall, you’ll miss it when it’s gone.

     Thank you.

     John Ellis Williams is the son of Ellis and Elaine Williams.