Point

We, The Class Of 2007, Have A Unique Opportunity To Change The World

By Callie Gesmundo, 2007 Lakewood High School Valedictorian

When I sat down to write this speech, I thought a lot about what I had learned over the past four years. On the first day of classes, we were 106 different people—106 strangers who came from three separate grade schools all across Montrose County. Looking back, I am reminded of how little we had in common, other than matching lockers and a head full of questions about our future.

But here we are, four long years later, getting ready to graduate. And over those years, along with several hundred math classes, just as many lunch periods, and a couple incredible wins for our football team at state—Go Tigers! [WAIT FOR APPLAUSE]—we have formed an indestructible bond of friendship that will last us the rest of our lives. These four years have equipped us with all the education, experience, compassion, and wisdom we need to tackle any obstacle that comes our way. Now it's our turn to give back.

It is this very topic I hope to speak about today.

As we leave our beloved school to go to different colleges and become the next great scientists, doctors, lawyers, and maybe even the president of the United States—Jeremy!—we have a responsibility to share what we have learned at Lakewood with the rest of the world. I urge you, fellow classmates, to spread the kindness you have received these last four years through your words and deeds wherever you go. We are the leaders of tomorrow. This class is poised to do great things. We must all remember that success is not defined by how much money you make or how big your house is, but by the quality of your character and how you treat others.

Thomas Edison once said, "If we did the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves." Never has this quote been more true than for the 2007 class of Lakewood High School.

So, as I look at you before me, I am filled with pride at all we have achieved [PAUSE] together.  And all we have yet to achieve, as well. We may have entered this place as 106 separate strangers, but we have emerged as  106 friends with our whole lives ahead of us. It is up to us to live each day to its fullest and be the change we want to see in the world.

Never forget what an incredible journey we've traveled together to get here today. It's time for us to go out and change the world for the better. And after getting to know each and every one of you, I'm sure that we can.

Congratulations, Class of 2007. We did it! 

Counterpoint

Sorry, 2004 Already Has It Covered

By Richard Randall, 2004 Lakewood High School Valedictorian

Hate to break it to you, graduating seniors of 2007, but there's obviously been a big misunderstanding that I need to clear up right now.

Your valedictorian just said something about how the class of 2007 "has a duty to go out and change the world for the better." Too bad the class of 2004 accepted that responsibility while you all were still underclassmen. It's our turf. We've been changing the world for three years now, so another class waltzing in and claiming they're going to change the world would be totally redundant.

If you had the simple courtesy to read my speech from back then, you would have known this already. It was a really moving speech and everyone clapped.

So get it straight, kids: "Being the change you want to see in the world" is our thing—has been since Sunday, June 6, 2004. And there's no point in 106 extra people jumping on the project now, since it would take us months to get you up to speed anyway.

Maybe we could squeeze you into the "building a global community based on tolerance and understanding" thing, but that's more the salutatorian's deal, so you'd have to ask her.

Look, I understand what you're going through. You're done with high school and you're having this big ceremony and your parents are watching—you got all caught up in the excitement. But that's no excuse to start spouting off Thomas Edison quotes that clearly apply only to our graduating class and claiming them as some kind of special mandate. Same with saying you're going to "spread kindness through your words and deeds." Spreading kindness through words and deeds is our territory, and we're sure as hell not going to give it up to some 18-year-old punks who haven't even started college yet.

We've also got dibs on being "the leaders of tomorrow," "living each day to its fullest," "finding happiness in what we do and not how much money we make," and "never forgetting  what an incredible journey we've traveled together."

Let's just admit it: You've been pulling this crap since the day you came to this school, copying practically everything you do from our class's special and unique high school experience. Your homecoming dance had the same "Imagine" theme ours did. You put out a yearbook full of once-in-a-lifetime memories, just like we did in 2004. And then you held a senior prom that you described as "the best night of your lives," which you obviously stole from us. Now you're trying to pass yourselves off as being in "a unique position to change the world" as well.

Been there, done that, 2007.

So you might want to all get together over the next few weeks and hammer out a new game plan for what you're planning to do with your future, because I sure as hell don't want to see you starting a new chapter in your lives. "Starting a new chapter" is already taken. You can, I don't know, "embark on a whole new adventure" or something? Whatever. Knock yourselves out.

To be honest, I don't really care what you do, as long it doesn't infringe on the agenda already established by the class of 2004.

 Oh, and one final note: "You" did not "do it." We "did it." But congratulations on graduating anyway.

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