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Class of 2013 embarks on the next journey

Editor’s Note: Today, The Daily Leader continues publication of area high school valedictorian and salutatorian graduation speeches. The following address is from West Lincoln Attendance Center Salutatorian Ryan Gill.

On behalf of the graduating class of 2013, I would like to welcome you all to this very special night in our lives.

Tonight marks the ending of our chapter at West Lincoln. It has been a long and well-earned journey that I am proud to have shared with each of you. Over the past four years, we have grown together as a class and made many friendships and memories that will last a lifetime.

And I pray that there are many more to come.

First I would like to thank the teachers and administrators that we have been privileged to have over the years. Without their compassion and devotion, we would not have made it here.

No matter how much we grumbled and complained, they pressed on, knowing that one day their effort would pay off. I am glad they never gave up hope that we would make it to this day.

I would also like to say a special thank you to the parents and families here tonight for their motivation and encouragement over the years. When we did not believe in ourselves, they kept us going. When we needed someone to talk to, they were ready to listen.

And even if we did not want it, they were always willing to give us their advice. You have helped to make us all who we are today. Therefore, thank you for all you do.

Now to the class of 2013, we have finally reached the point in our lives where we must face the thing we have talked about for years… Our future. It is the uncertain path we have been waiting for. It is our dreams we wish to accomplish and the goals we wish to conquer.

This past year, we have counted down the days until we could finally get out of this place, myself included. Now that the time has run out, I stand here uncertain that I would not go back and do it all over again.

I hope this ride has been as unforgettable for you as it was for me. I pray that you all accomplish your hopes and dreams beginning this new chapter in your lives. But please remember, when you feel uncertain of your path in life, turn to God for answers.

In closing, I would like to leave you with a saying that my class and I have grown fond of over the years. Mr. Case, you have instilled in us that “It doesn’t matter if you’re a lion or gazelle, when the sun rises in the morning; you better hit the ground running!”

Congratulations, class of 2013! Thank you, and God bless.