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Experiences prove change is a good thing

Editor’s Note: Today, The Daily Leader continues publication of area high school valedictorian and salutatorian graduation speeches. The following address is from Loyd Star Attendance Center Salutatorian Kaitlyn Rhoads.

When I first moved to Loyd Star in the third grade, I never imagined that I would be standing here giving a speech as the Salutatorian of my senior class.

As a matter of fact, I never pictured myself as a student here in the first place. You see, as a young child it was hard for me to grasp the reason behind my parents’ decision for us to move.

I had grown up with all of the same friends. I even liked my house in our small neighborhood, and I did not want to have to start all over by being the new kid.

But as time went by, I made new friends who have helped me create many memories that I will take with me forever. And now I couldn’t be more proud to say that after tonight, I’ll be a Loyd Star graduate!

That one change in schools ended up being a change that led to many others throughout my time as a student here. For example, I started junior high in the seventh grade as basketball and softball player, but now I’m graduating as a soccer player and a cheerleader.

For the majority of my life, I’ve always looked at change as a bad thing. In this day and time, most people find that one groove and never make any changes along the way, maybe for their whole entire lives.

Now, I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with that. But, as I have gotten older, I have come to realize that there is not a single thing wrong with change.

A very important lady in my life, my dance teacher of 13 years, Mrs. Nena Smith reminds me as well as all of the other students in her studio that it is “A-OK to change your mind” because whether my classmates and I notice it or not, we’ve each changed quite a bit in more ways than we could ever even notice.

All of our changes may have been different, but I believe that it has been for the better. We’re now young adults sitting at our graduation ceremony, whereas 13 years ago we were just babies starting kindergarten somewhere!

Change and growth are just two inevitable facts of life, and I challenge each student seated behind me in my senior class to not be afraid of change as we enter the real world, but to embrace it and to allow these changes coming up to shape us into the adults that would be pleasing to our Heavenly Father.

A comforting verse from the bible that just so happens to be my favorite is Jeremiah 29:11, “I know the plans I have you, plans to give you hope and a future.” As we go out and start a new chapter in our lives, seniors, let’s all remember who has the whole world in his hands!

Throughout these changes that we’ve all undergone and the growth that has taken place through the years, we all have certain people who have helped us get to where we are right now.

I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it wasn’t for both of my supportive parents and my Mimi always pushing me to be the absolute best I can be.

Thank you, Daddy, for always making out my class schedules each year and for signing me up for the more difficult courses. I know at the time I wasn’t too thrilled about it, but now looking back on my time as a high school student I can proudly say that I survived Spanish II, trigonometry, pre-calculus and physics.

Thank you, Mama, for always being my number one fan and supporting me by being at every event I ever had throughout high school and having plenty of pictures to prove it!

I would like to thank my Mimi and my little sister Megyn for always being there to listen when I needed to vent or just talk things out.

I love and appreciate all four of you more than you’ll ever know.

The next group of people who deserve a thank you would have to be all the faculty and staff that have been a part of my life. From my kindergarten teacher Mrs. Coleman at Mamie Martin to my four senior teachers here at Loyd Star this year, and everyone in between – you’ve all impacted my life and the lives of the students seated behind me more than you could ever imagine.

For the love and support through the years, I will be forever grateful.

And most importantly I would like to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Without him – absolutely none of this would be possible.

Seniors, we did it! Pat yourselves on the back. God Bless!