By Preston Weber, Guest columnist
Good evening and welcome to each and every one of you — fellow graduates, students, parents, community members and all the fine staff of our excellent school, especially Bob the janitor. It is an honor to be able to speak here tonight.
It seems that school has gone by faster every year and that every month has gone by faster than the one before. It’s as if we’re picking up speed. We’re not, of course, but rather our perception of time is influenced by how long we have lived. As a matter of fact, our perception of life is influenced by how long we have lived.
We’ve cruised right through high school, but now that we’re graduating, we still haven’t reached a destination. The journey we’ve been on doesn’t end here. Our journey will be different, that’s certain.
But I know that none of us would want to stay in high school forever. Even Mr. Sederquist’s endless sarcasm would eventually get old. But I admit I will miss it.
This path we’ve been on has been just the right length. It has had just the right amount of twists and bumps to keep it exhilarating, rewarding and challenging.
What happens now? That is up to us.
Now we have the opportunity to go become what we wish. We can be engineers, nurses, farmers, mechanics, members of the Armed Forces or teachers. We can be whatever we set our mind on becoming. We might have to work harder than we planned or would like to at times. We may choose to change our direction. The plan we have today might not be the plan we have next year. While this may cause some of us to have uncertainty, it is not at all a bad thing. I know I would not want my entire life to be pre-planned and go exactly how I predict.
And when the times in life aren’t as good as we’d like them to be, just remember to keep your attitude positive. Remember to laugh. The losses, the disappointments, they are definitely not as enjoyable as winning or succeeding. But one thing is absolutely certain. Most learning comes from the difficult times, not the easy ones.
It is difficult to see the positive side of the disappointments when you are in the middle of them, but there always is one. You will become more experienced, more mature and wiser. Just look at these times as learning experiences. You will get through them and will end up a better person. And if you need advice, look to grandparents or anyone else who knows a thing or two about life. I’m sure they will be willing to help.
Some of us may be dreaming of a big future ahead. Some of us may be thinking “I want to go and change the world.” But let me tell you, more than one or two of us will do that. We, every one of us, are part of this world. Therefore, every one of us changes the world.
It doesn’t matter if we dream big or dream small. We all have an impact. We don’t have to create a miracle medicine, discover an unlimited source of energy, or become a billionaire philanthropist. What we do every single day, and how we act every single day —that is what changes the world.
Being there for your friends and family when they need you, spreading a positive attitude to people you interact with, or just being kind to someone are things each one of us can do to have an impact. And these things do change the world more than many of us imagine.
People may not remember much about what you said or what you did, but they will remember how you made them feel.
As we all move on into this new part of our life, I urge all of us, one interaction at a time, one moment at a time, and one kind act at a time, to go change the world.
Preston Weber is the valedictorian of his class and gave one of the commencement addresses at the Pierz Healy High School graduation ceremony.