Hello Everybody and thank you all for attending the Line Mountain Class of 2020 virtual graduation.

Knowing the attention spans of many of my friends, I’ll try to make this quick.

First, I would like to start this speech by briefly thanking all of the front line workers, medical staff and researchers who are putting their lives in danger to help others during these troubling times and are working toward bringing this pandemic to an end.

Thank you.

Standing here now, it is so hard to believe that high school is really over and that it ended so abruptly. Looking back on it now, it seems like it went by in a heartbeat, yet at the same time, I can recall an abundance of great memories and excellent times with my classmates and friends that seem to have happened over such a long time.

Whether it's having heated debates in Knock’s class, singing classic hits in Mr. Keer’s, hoping that Coach Bryce Martz wasn’t in charge of conditioning on a hot day, or trying to comprehend Shakespeare while simultaneously writing three essays, I have made many memories that I’ll surely remember for the rest of my life.

I know that every class younger than me has heard these words hundreds of times, but make sure that you make the most of the time you have here because, I can now say from experience, that it goes by way too quickly and when it ends, all you can do is look back in awe and wonder where the time went.

It really almost doesn’t feel real that this is the end and, while it's sad to look behind us at these memories at Line Mountain and realize that we won’t be able to make any more at the school we love, it is important to realize that this moment really just marks the beginning of the rest of our lives.

Lon Watters sums up high school by saying, “School is a building which has four walls and the future inside.” Well, this is no doubt the truth and now, it is finally time to make that future we have been preparing for, for so long, a reality.

I know that, as a class, we have all worked so hard to get here today and learned so much about each other, as well as learning things like discipline and determination, over our many years together. We are now free to go down our own paths and use our unique skills to make a positive mark on the world in whatever way we can.

The diversity in skill that our class shows is really amazing. Our class is full of great athletes, scholars, artists, musicians, mechanics, and everything in between and most importantly we have shown time and time again that we are resilient and flexible and never let any obstacles get the better of us. Because of this, I am confident that everyone graduating today will be able to achieve greatness in whatever they plan to do. I wish luck to everyone here whether you plan to go to college, enter the workforce, enlist in the military, or anything else.

As I plan for the next step in my life, I now realize more than ever how uncertain the future is and how overwhelming it may feel sometimes. To quote Jake's beloved daughter, “Everything ahead of us is totally unknown and there is no guarantee that everything is going to be alright. It’s exciting, but it's also pretty scary, y’know?,” and I know that I’m not the only person who feels anxious for the future during one of the biggest moments of our lives.

But looking at this quote, it is so important to focus on the excitement over the fear. Fear is something humans experience naturally when facing the unknown and the only way to get past that fear is to accept that it’s there and then conquer it. The best way to ensure a better future is to learn from the mistakes in our past — since I know we’ve all made them — and tackle the present with everything that we have, since doing your best in the present is the only thing you can do to lead to a better future. If we do that we will have no reason to do anything other than feel excited about the future, our future. A wise, old turtle once said, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.”

So as we go our separate ways we have to remember to live life moment by moment and make the most of everything that we do.

Overall, I am very blessed and privileged to have been able to go on such an epic journey with the people that I can call my classmates and friends. I was able to see how much everyone has grown and changed since our elementary days and how everyone has found their own hobbies and interests. I’ve seen some people become as close as brothers and others argue until they could barely speak, but in the end we were all able to learn from each other and form connections that we won’t find anywhere else.

While we learned the hard way that things don’t always go as planned, I wouldn’t have wanted to go on this adventure with any other group of people in any other way.

My last wise words come from everybody’s favorite insect, Jiminy Cricket, and they are: “If your heart is in your dream, no request is too extreme.”

Of course, Jiminy Cricket puts it in words that not only make perfect sense but rhyme. As I head out into the world with my own dreams and aspirations, and everyone else does the same, we all have to remember these words and when things seem tough, just keep going with all the passion and heart you can muster and nothing will be out of reach. To close my speech, I would like to thank the teachers, coaches, parents, and family that have raised me to become the man I am today and gave me the opportunity to stand here and give this speech.

Finally, I would just like to say, Congratulations Class of 2020, we did it.

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