Success is great, but happiness will bring peace

By Sierra Halverson, Guest Columnist

First of all, I would like to take the time to thank all the parents and family members of the seniors. You are the foundation and part of our success is because of you.

I would also like to thank all the teachers, both elementary and high school, the secretaries, Jayne, Rita and Colleen, Mr. Capelle, Mr. Arndt and the School Board.

You have given us a wonderful experience and quality education. We wouldn’t be in this position without each and every one of you; it’s been a collaboration of efforts. Thank you.

You’ve given us the education, confidence and insight to go out into the world and pursue our dreams. It’s time to begin to realize our potential and what our calling is.

I truly hope everyone’s goals and dreams will be fulfilled, and additionally, reaching happiness and success. There may be many hurdles that we’ll encounter, but with the right mindset, anything is possible, and the journey can be positive.

We are at a crossroads in our lives right now; it’s time to make some decisions that will impact the rest of our lives. Goals are being set; the pursuit of happiness and success are being planned.

It’s my hope that everyone’s goal is happiness. Success is great, but happiness to me, means that we are at peace with whatever we are doing. Success doesn’t define you. It’s up to you to determine whether you’re successful. It’s an internal, personal decision. It can be a matter of interpretation and one’s own standard for themselves.

Pursue happiness and explore your passion. This quote by Robert Griffin III really hit home for me when he said, “Don’t chase your dream, but go catch your dream. If the dream is already in your mind, then you’ll accomplish it.”

Happiness should be the ultimate goal. Go out and do what you love and the success will shine through. If you’re not passionate about your work, it’ll reflect in the performance and quality of the job done.

Taking a look at some of the most successful people in the world, they don’t consider their job a job at all. It’s their passion. They perform at their optimal level because it’s almost effortless. Take a step back and reflect on what makes you happy and what’s important.

Speaking from experience and going through potential life-threatening health issues, I went through a period of reflection. It put life in a new light for me because I had goals for tennis and college, that were my own interpretations of success. These flashed before me and seemingly were torn to shreds. This was hard to swallow, to say the least.

In times of challenge, we are forced to adapt. Life may not go exactly as we plan it, and goals may have to be altered. It was then that I realized the answer to a successful life. A successful life is being happy.

I knew I needed to be happy and grateful for the success I’ve had, but by simply being happy and content with life, is all that really matters.

This might sound cliché, but live life to the fullest, and be happy with what your situation is. You never know when it can be turned upside down in a heartbeat and you don’t know what blessings will come from new opportunities or from overcoming challenges.

I wish all the seniors the best of luck, success and ultimately happiness. Each person has unique strengths and will have success in whatever you choose to pursue.

My wish is for all of us to utilize our strengths and pursue our passion and love the lives we create.

Thank you again to everyone for the support. Upsala really offers something special and we are fortunate to experience life here.

Sierra Halverson is the salutatorian of her class and gave one of the commencement addresses during graduation ceremonies at Upsala Area Schools.