Class of 2012 will stay the course

By Melissa George,  Guest columnist

The class of 2012 would like to welcome all of you; our families, friends, teachers, and all those that have guided us along the way to the ending of one part of our lives to the start of a whole new beginning.

I would like to start off by reading a quote by John Wooden: “The road to real achievement is usually bumpy and long, but you do not give up. You may have setbacks. You may have to start over. You may have to change your method. You may have to go around, or over or under. You may have to back up and get another start. But you do not quit. You stay the course.” This quote is a perfect description of my class.

We started off as bright-eyed little kids entering into kindergarten with fears of leaving our mommies and daddies yet having the excitement of riding a big yellow bus. We did have little bumps and setbacks trying to color in the lines and write out letters but we did not give up. All the way to getting in our last credits as seniors just to be here today.

Through all our hard work, it is the memories we cherish the most, though. We remember the old school building. It was such an adventure to be able to go on every floor, even the basement where we would get to scare each other on our way to the art room and old gym. The best days were going to art on our birthdays and Mrs. Tarbuck letting us swing from the rafters or when Mr. Koczur let us go up into the balcony in the old gym after purposely kicking the ball up there. Sadly, we had to say goodbye to those memories as our new school was built. Too bad at this point we did not realize that we could not kick the ball our hardest anymore, watching how Kevin Ripplinger kicked it all way to our sprinkler system. At least we found out it really worked.

These memories, along with the memories of our many field trips ranging from Deportage, skiing in Duluth, and seeing Obama’s inauguration in Washington, D.C., were moments that we will never forget. After 13 years, these life learning experiences, our teachers and our studies have helped us become the individuals you see before you. Excited and sad to be closing a chapter in our lives. Not knowing what the future will hold.

But, we couldn’t have done it without the support of all the people who are here today: Teachers with the patience to help guide us in our learning, family giving us all their extra time and effort to help us with sports and homework, and classmates being there for each other’s support. You have helped create who each and every one of us are and that’s something you should feel honored for because of the many talents I can obviously see in this class today.

Now, with confidence, we know going forward we will keep achieving our goals. We will not quit. We will continue to stay on our course. That is why we are all before you, the class of 2012. 

Melissa George is the valedictorian of her class and gave one of the commencement speeches during graduation ceremonies at Upsala Area Schools.