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Future starts today for new graduates

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 Valedictorian LeKeith Ward.

I’d like to welcome everyone to this occasion. It’s been a long four years, but here we are, ready to graduate.

We worked really hard to get to this point, but we didn’t do it by ourselves. For that, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to the following people. I would like to thank our parents for supporting us in more ways than it’s possible to count.

I would like to thank our teachers for unselfishly sharing their time, talent, and knowledge with us. I would also like to thank our coaches and advisors for making school about more than just class work.

I would like to thank our principal for keeping things running smoothly so that our teachers can concentrate on us. I would like to thank our guidance counselors for listening and trying to keep us on the right track for graduation. Without your help, some of us might not be graduating today.

Class of 2013, we stand here today on the precipice of our future. It’s not a distant reality anymore. It starts here. It starts today. We began high school as children, but we’re leaving here as adults. We’ve completed an education that will serve as the platform into our future.

Some of us will go on to college, others will go straight into the workforce, but each of you, and from myself, is to meet those challenges straight on with your head held high and your heart wide open.

It’s not enough to simply try to get by in life. That doesn’t move the world forward. You must try to succeed in everything you do; strive for excellence in every task whether it is large or small.

Although it’s not easy to see, every accomplishment you achieve is added to the world’s accomplishments. Your individual successes benefit society as a whole because when you succeed, you lighten the burden on your fellow man. When you succeed, you are in a position to give rather than take.

Imagine if every individual lived up to his or her potential. Think about how amazing that would be, and how much better off the world would be. Even if half of the individuals lived up to their potential, the world would be an awesome place.

We may not have the power to inspire the entire world to succeed, but we do have the power to try to achieve it for ourselves.

Like Stephen Kaggwa said, “Try and fail, but don’t fail to try.” My challenge to each of you, and myself, is to do all that you can do to reach your whole potential.

If each of the students in this class is able to do that, just imagine the effect it would have.

The future is truly in our hands, so let’s make the most of it. Thank you.