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(Part of a continuing series featuring local high school graduation speeches.)

Resiliency is necessary in life

Good evening, families and friends! Thank you for coming out tonight to support your graduates of the Class of 2021. I only have a short time to address all of you, and that is just fine with me because I do not like big displays. 

For any of you that know me, I am not a big talker. For those who know why I am not a big talker, the fact that I am standing up here talking about resiliency will not be lost on you. 

The word resilient means “to spring back or to rebound” (“Resilience”). It seems appropriate in the broad scheme of our world today, after losing so much to the COVID-19 Pandemic. I am not going to spend my time up here talking about what we lost. However, I am going to talk about what we learned.

First, many people have said that we may be behind in our learning based on what we have experienced; however, we have learned an abundance of life skills that can be applied to our futures. 

We learned how to be flexible with our schedules. Thankfully, our generation is technology-focused, so online learning was not as challenging for us as it was for our teachers. 

We learned how to be patient, as much of our community struggles with internet inequality. 

We learned how to be more independent, as assignments were distributed and much of our time had to be working alone instead of in a group. 

We learned how to be accountable, as we had to submit our work in a timely manner and be ready for corrections, if necessary.  

As young as we are, some of us have already experienced loss and how to be resilient.  Life is a team sport; you should anticipate loss.  Loss requires resiliency, in that, we will all fail at some point. Everyone, at some point in life, is going to lose a battle. Being resilient in that loss will define your character.  Behind every strong person is a choice not to give up. It means not giving up when you are down or think you are beaten. It means getting up every day and going to physical therapy or speech therapy. It means when you are diagnosed with cancer, you beat it. It means being down in a baseball game and coming back to win in the seventh inning, almost every time, sorry coach. These examples show that in life, we have to be resilient.

Also, resiliency happens when you work hard. If you want to be good at something, you have to put forth the effort. Life requires teamwork; if you are fortunate enough to play on a team, you know you have a coach, a captain, a quarterback, or a pitcher. Later in life, those same roles are given to a boss, a co-worker, or a spouse.

I have had the best time at CHS. I have played for the best coaches; I have been challenged by some great teachers, and I have been helped every time I have asked for it. 

Most of all, I have made the best friends. I would like to thank every person who had a hand in me standing here tonight, including all of my teachers, especially Mrs. Jamie Taylor; all of my coaches, notably Brock Kitchen and Bob Rockwell; my friends and their parents who have fed me countless times over the years. 

I would like to thank my family for their love and constant support, and, especially, my older brothers Nick and Nate for setting the bar so high.

All of you taught me how to walk the best I can down this road I will leave behind.

Finally, I want to leave you all with words of the greatest movie ever made, The Sandlot. “Remember, kid, there’s heroes and there’s legends. Heroes get remembered, but legends never die” (“The Sandlot”). Be a legend by being resilient in your lives!