Congratulations Graduating Class 0f 2002. We have made it. After 12 or more years in school we are reaching the point in time where we move out of or youthful days of school, homework, and teachers for a more stressful way of life. We have worked hard to reach this point in life and are ready to embrace it.
Ladies and Gentleman of James Ford Rhodes High School, we are the next generation of Teachers, Professors, Doctors, Scientists, Actors, and Everyday people. I know that it is a scary thought, indeed it is, but we are ready to take over. We should come out fighting, do not let your talents waste away. Go to college, trade school, or where ever and become skilled. The world is ours for the taking. We have cried, sweat, and clawed our way through the ranks of Grade school, Middle School, and High School.
We were Freshman, the lowliest of low, fighting off the upper classmen yet we persevered. Then, miraculously, we became Sophomores, not quite good enough, but better than a Freshman, now, we were higher in the food chain, toying with the freshmen, it felt good, yes, but we still had to fight off the bigger and badder Juniors and Seniors. We fought them off, made friends with some, enemies with others, and then another strange feeling. We moved even higher on the food chain, Juniors. Ah, then we began to feel the power. We now had less people to worry about, and more schoolwork. Narratives, Argumentative essays, and a million others, how we feared it.
But we won the battle; we made one of the greatest transitions in life, High School Seniors. Wow, what power. What responsibility...We are the highest of high; we have three different grade levels to keep in check, to let them know their roles and places. We have to lead by example, we have to show that we are ready to take over; ready for the power and responsibility that society is going to place on us. This year, our work is relatively simple, sans out Senior Research Paper and updating our Career Passports.
That is only the beginning for many; the decisions we have to make are tremendous as well. Buy a class ring or no? Buy announcements, and if so how many? Go to prom? What should I wear and how should I get there? We have so many decisions, but they are merely tests. Ladies and Gentleman, out of nowhere comes the final days. Prom, a great time, one of the last times many of us will have to be together. The next week, Finals, dum-da-dum-dum, the dreaded finals, the last and greatest hump before commencement. We take the tests and pass. The weight of Finals fall from our shoulders and then another weight is transferred. We graduate in a matter of days. In a matter of days we become adults. An amazing thought, an even greater feeling. But we have those few days still, and in those days we have to practice, practice, and practice even more. We think that we don't need it, but come that moment, the moment when we are in front of our parents, grandparents, and friends we thank our teachers for the practice.
The day has come, the moment draws near, you are sitting in front of all these people, listening to your principal speak, your class leaders, and esteemed guests as well. They are calling names, where did the last few moments go? What is going on, your hands are sweating, they are one row away...now three people away, and suddenly, and you hear your name. They pronounced it correctly, the first time in you school career they got it right, he feel light-headed as you walk up on that stage, the camera's start snapping pictures of you and you reach the podium. You accept the Diploma and walk away glad that you finally made it. You cross the stage and go back to your seat, and wait. Now, you wait, they call off al the other names and they congratulate you. You toss your cap in the air and whoop, you retrieve your cap, and seat once again. Its almost over, they make you stand once more and finally allow you to leave. It is finally over, your School Career ends, you cry, you hug your friends, you tell them you'll keep in touch, you get numbers, give numbers, and then, you depart. Already, the place that you disliked now becomes a void, you miss it, and you wish you had another chance at it.
Ladies and Gentleman of the Graduating Class of 2002, we have reached our time to shine. You have permission to gloat, to brag, to be extremely happy, use these last few days to your advantage, get together with your friends and make your friendships better, get together with old friends and re-new the friendships. Remember, your life is what you make it, make it yours, and make it good.