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TEXT OF STUDENTS' SPEECHES AND PRINCIPAL'S REMARKS AT GHS GRADUATION

May 31, 2016
 
Speeches at Granbury High School graduation on May 27, 2016, included the valedictory address by Sarah Schloeman, salutatory address by Kaylee Keating, and senior response by class president Caleb Carnes.  GHS principal Jeremy Ross closed the ceremony with congratulatory remarks.
 
Valedictory Address
Sarah Schloeman, Valedictorian of the Class of 2016
 
Valedictorian  
 
Class of 2016, we did it! On behalf of the class of 2016, we would like to thank our parents, teachers, coaches, administration, and community members, all of whom have worked tirelessly on our behalf. We are so very grateful. While we may have an idea of what we want to do with our futures, the coming years will prove to be very telling about the people we will become. Therefore, I believe a look at who we are at this moment, through the lens of the past four years, is important.
 
Each and every one of us is part of this great pirate family. What it really means to be a Granbury pirate is being familiar with adversity and overcoming obstacles no matter how difficult. We will leave this school with memories we will never forget. From all of us showing strength even as young freshman in the continued rebuilding of our great community after the devastating effects of the tornado, to trivial events the past two years such as the many days construction caused us an “inconvenience”. From the power going out and our dedicated teachers having us get out our cellphones to shine light in order to finish our work, to the excitement of hearing the announcement to go home early due to water issues. Also I believe our student section at every sports event shows just how proud we all are to be Granbury pirates. And to every other up and down we’ve experienced along the way and our own personal tribulations we’ve overcome . Through these experiences I have witnessed the immense talent and unrelenting support we gave each other along the way.
 
The class of 2016 is to say the least- unique. Over the last 4 years, every year presented us with new and tougher challenges, both academically and personally. As we have grown older, we have been faced with the responsibility of being role models for those younger than us, and now it is time for us to hand off the torch to the next class. Now it is time for us to go make our mark on the world. Our generation will be running the world, and that’s a scary thought. Not because I don’t trust us, but because we have a lot of growing up to do before we get there.
 
Class of 2016, it is up to us to make a difference, to have people say honorable things about us, and leave the impression that we never gave up on ourselves. Go forward, work hard, reach your full potential, and attain greatness; the kind of greatness that will make our dreams a reality. Today is the day we step up and take our place in this world. Don’t let these past four years be the best years. Remember, this is only the beginning.
 
Salutatory Address
Kaylee Keating, Salutatorian of the Class of 2016
 
Salutatorian  
 
Friends, romans, countrymen… parents, teachers, administrators, and fellow classmates, I’d like to welcome you to the graduation of the class of 2016. On behalf of my class, I’d like to thank all of you who gathered here today in celebration of us because it is, without a doubt, all of your support, teaching, and guidance that helped us achieve what might be our most significant accomplishment yet. On a personal matter, I’d also like to thank our valedictorian, Sarah Schloeman, with whom I have sat by and cheated off-- I mean collaborated with straight to the top. I couldn’t have done it without you, bud!
 
While I wracked my brain and heart for what I should say today, a thought crossed my mind, “What valuable advice could I, an eighteen year-old with limited life experience, possibly give to other eighteen year-olds, with just as little experience?” So, like any person of my generation, I grabbed the nearest electronic device, only fingertips away, and headed to a magical place, where all life’s mysteries are found, called “Google”. Of course the classic, cheesy inspirational topics came up like “finding your happiness”, or “doing what you love”, or “not letting fear run your life.” While I agree that all these things may play a part in your life, there was something else I came across that spoke deeper to me. A poem called The Dash written by Linda Ellis.
 
[Poem] 
 
On that note, my fellow graduates of 2016, I call upon you to make the most of your short time on this earth. Your dash-- this time, this season, is crucial in our lives. It’s the beginning of our transition to life on our own. It’s a time where we discover ourselves and our true purpose in life, not to just be “happy”, but to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate. No matter what we choose to do from this day forward, my wish for all of us gathered today is that we live life well. May your dash be well-spent. Congratulations class of 2016!
 
Response for the Class of 2016
Caleb Carnes, Senior Class President
 
Senior Class President  
 
It has been a long four years, but here we are, ready to graduate. We worked hard to get to this point, but we didn't do it by ourselves. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the following people.
 
To our teachers, thank you for so unselfishly sharing your time, talent and knowledge with us. Yes, we know it was your job to do it, but what you did for us went beyond the call of duty. You took the time to explain assignments, sometimes repeatedly because we weren't paying attention. You allowed us to come to your classroom after school for extra help when you could have gone home to spend time with your family. You put in the effort to make lessons more interesting, so we wouldn't just tune out. You demanded excellence from us whether or not we wanted to give it. You set the bar high and challenged us to live up to it.
 
To our parents, thank you for supporting us in more ways than it's possible to count. You dragged us out of bed each morning, made sure we were fed and clothed for school. You herded us out the door to the bus stop or drove us to school yourselves. You helped us with homework, paid our class fees, and listened to our complaints. You came to our plays, attended our sporting events, and chaperoned our dances. You commiserate over our daily dramas, but you tried to give us enough space to learn how to work things out for ourselves. These are just a few of the thousands of ways you've supported us on our journey.
 
To our coaches and advisors, thank you for making school about more than just classwork. Through sports, we learned how to power on through adversity and give it our best effort, win or lose. We learned the importance of discipline and good sportsmanship. Through other activities like participating in clubs, school plays and service projects, we learned how to work closely with others to achieve a common goal, and we had a lot of fun doing it.
 
To our custodial staff and lunchroom attendants, thank you for keeping our school clean and safe. You know better than anyone else what slobs we've been. You actually deserve some kind of medal.
 
To our principal, vice principal and all the office staff, thank you for keeping things running smoothly so our teachers could concentrate on us. We are better off for it.
 
To our guidance counselors, thank you for listening and trying to keep us on the right track for graduation. Without your help, some of us might not be graduating today.
 
As you can see, behind each graduate there must have been at least a dozen people providing support in at least a thousand ways. The best way we graduates can show our gratitude is to make the most of the opportunity we've been given, and go forward into the world with the intention of making it a better place for the generations that follow us. We will pay that debt of gratitude forward.
 
Thank you.  
 
Celebratory Remarks
Jeremy Ross, Principal
 
Principal  
 
I always save the last few words of Graduation for myself.  Normally, as I construct the “graduation book,” these last paragraphs are some of my favorite things to write. This year, for me it’s just a little more personal.
 
When my family moved to Granbury a few years ago, I had some very specific hopes and dreams for my boys and their school experience.
 
I hoped that they would have opportunities to flourish in the things they love to do.
 
I wanted their extracurricular activities to be richly competitive, and full of pride!
 
I hoped that they would surround themselves with friends that had personal ethics and character that mirrored theirs.
 
I hoped that they would have teachers that pushed and challenged, and yet loved them as their own.
 
I definitely won.  I received all of that and more!
 
I want all of you to imagine for a second what it would be like if YOUR dad were the principal of Granbury High School.  How would YOUR dad announce on the public address system that “It’s a little sad and a lot gross that some of you think that Connie Jesko’s hallway is a great place to be romantic.” How would your dad react to a nuclear mushroom cloud of baby powder coating innocent fans in the middle of a football game?  How about jackhammers, no running water, and regularly UNSCHEDULED fire drills—most happening on Thursdays?  Brennan, thank you for not acting too embarrassed by having your dad be the principal.
 
To all the rest of you, you need to know that you are an important piece of our school’s history.  You are the very last group of students to attend Granbury High School—the beta version.  You are the first students to actually inhabit the new Crossland Wing of GHS.  You will be able to visit with your families years from now, look up at the complex and say “we were the first students to ever have classes in that building.”
 
You have set the stage for the unveiling of the new Granbury High School Extreme version.  You leave a legacy of excellence in art, music, sports, world class technical programs, and all things “PIRATE.”
 
I hope that when you look back, you remember your opportunities to flourish, your rich, competitive experiences, your friends, and those teachers who will forever hold a special place in your heart.
 
Students, on behalf of your teachers and staff, WE are very proud of you.  We expect great things from you!
 
And now, in our final act of celebration and as a symbol turning the page from this chapter of your life, with your left hand take your tassel and say with me
 
CLASS OF 2016-----GRADUATES 2016!