Wake up, it’s time to graduate and move on

By Amber Barton, Guest Columnist

To commence the 2013 graduation ceremony, I would like to wish all the teachers, faculty, family, friends and fellow classmates a good evening. Thank you all for being here to join us in celebrating the last moments of our lives as high schoolers, the last moments before shoving us out the door and slamming it tightly behind us.

Despite how anxious everyone is to get rid of us seniors, I’m afraid I have to stretch this time together with a speech that will probably put most of you to sleep.

Sleep. There are so many times I could have used more of it; a few of my classmates I’m sure thought the same as their heads hit the desks on occasion. After they awoke to the sound of a thick history book whacking the surface of a desk if they happened to nod off in his class, one of our teachers would kindly remind these sleeping students that they could sleep when they were dead.

In the ensuing years since grade school, we profited from many lessons through the learning technique known as trial and error. We might have made a mistake or two, but I’ve been told mistakes are how we learn.

Regardless of those mistakes, our teachers never gave up on us; our erroneous ways evolved into some form of improvement because the teachers frequently gave us choices. The choices weren’t always ones we liked, but had we been allowed to take the easy way out, our ambition for success wouldn’t nearly be as honed as it is today.

Growing up with these classmates has been the most amazing experience, and I know, in addition to the teachers and staff of this school, I have their families to thank. That we have grown to be great friends and supporters is, to a great extent, because of you parents. I know you guided and provided a foundation for each one of them, like my family did for me, picking me up when I fell or lost faith in myself, making the individuals in the Class of 2013 tenacious and accomplished, ready to take the next step in encountering the future. I have continued faith in our ability to use our inner resources since discovering the wise words of Oliver Wendel Holmes: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

Considering the passion and integrity that is inside the members of the graduating class of 2013, I am certain the future holds many fantastic adventures for us, but I won’t forget the many that I have already had with my classmates.

Thank you, Class of 2013 for the years of friendship and all the memories. I will cherish them for the rest of my life. I wish you all the best of luck in future endeavors and an abundance of happiness and prosperity in your lives.

To all of you that have fallen asleep, you can wake up now.

Amber Barton is the salutatorian of the Swanville High School Class of 2013. This is the speech she delivered during commencement ceremonies, May 24.