There’s no one recipe for the perfect life

Thirteen years later, we’re back to nervous mothers, anxious kids

By Marissa Evans, Guest Columnist

Nervous mothers and anxious kids. That was us when we began kindergarten.

Thirteen years ago, we started school, and we didn’t all know one another. We were all so eager to get to know each other, and in time, we became friends, some more than others.

We had good times, trying times, all sorts of times, even times when we didn’t get along, but at the end of the day, everything worked itself out.

Standing here with each of you today, I can honestly say we’ve grown so much closer than I ever thought we would. I appreciate that we are such different people, and I appreciate even more that we all accept one another for who we are. I hope that attitude of acceptance stays with us all.

I am proud to call you my classmates, and I know that’s something that won’t change.

Fast forward to 2013 at our graduation, and it’s time to put one chapter of our lives to rest and start a new journey. I think I speak for most of us when I say it’s scary leaving this place. It’s our school, and the place that we’re all comfortable. Many of us will take different paths in life, whether that is through school, military or work. There will be successes and failures. With success you need to remain grounded, and with failure you need to be able to try again. Hopefully each of us finds success in life’s journey, and I hope you’re able to go to bed each night knowing that you gave it all you had.

Many changes will happen along the way. We will find ourselves meeting new people and making new friends. Schools, jobs, towns and majors will all change along the way. These changes, and the challenges that will come with them, are part of what will make us who we’re meant to become. It may be hard or scary at the time, but it is all part of building us as people.

One of these changes could be growing away from the people next to us today. I can only hope we stay connected in some ways. I hope we remember the people we spent these past 13 years of our lives with. I hope we remember the great lessons we taught each other, the support we gave each other and the kindness we treated one another with.

There is no one recipe for the perfect life. All you can do is take life’s lessons and use them in making the best decisions possible. Mistakes will be made, but I know we are all smart enough to learn from them. I have so much confidence in everyone in this class, and I can’t wait to see where we all go in life.

Changes will happen; embrace them. Remember your roots and where you came from; think about Swanville and smile for no reason whatsoever, other than the good times we’ve had together.

Hopefully there is a fondness from your childhood that will remain with you forever. I hope the memories we’ve made are never forgotten and the kindness of Swanville in each of us never fades.

I would personally like to thank all fellow students, teachers and family members who have touched my life in one way or another.

To the students I’ve spent my high school career with, thank you for spending this time with me, I wouldn’t be the same without each and every one of you.

To the teachers — I know we probably haven’t always been fun to deal with, but what you have done for us is something most people aren’t able to give in the special way teachers can. You’ve given us our education which is one of the most important things that can be given to a person. Without you, we wouldn’t be here tonight.

To our parents, you’ve been by our sides since the beginning and that’s something we probably won’t ever be able to repay you for. Thank you all so much. It is appreciated.

Funny how it works, 13 years later and we’re back to nervous mothers and anxious kids.

Best of luck to you all.


Marissa Evans is the valedictorian of the Swanville High School Class of 2013. This is the speech she delivered during commencement ceremonies, May 14.