Click "more" for a transcript. Max Johnson, Grad 2006 Valedictorian for Ballenas Secondary School, gives the next-to-last speech of the evening.
MR. WITTE: [Inaudible], I can see the home stretch coming now. Max... Johnson, could you please come up and do the Valedictorian [inaudible]?
MAX'S MOTHER: Yeah.
MAX: ...Just a little bit? [Inaudible] "Suuuue"... okay.
Ladies and Gentlemen: Honored guests, teachers, parents, family members, school board officials, fellow students, and fellow grads: Thank you. You can all breathe a sigh of relief now. We're finally coming to the end.
It's hard to believe that 13 years of our lives have gone by so quickly. In the beginning, in elementary school, all we had to do was learn what the letters of the alphabet were and where they go; now we've taken classes like Math 12, where we learned that, no, the letters of the alphabet mean different things entirely. Middle school was transitional, just three short years between fun and responsibility, and it was over before a lot of us really adjusted to the routine of actually having to do work. And now, here we are, and we've finished high school, the place that seemed so scary and ominous when our older siblings and their friends went there every day -- and had to do homework and everything. It's a testament to the care and the skill of our teachers and community that we've made it through this period of our lives and became the finely crafted people you see today.... We're grateful to them all.
So, over the last decade, it has been a journey. It's a journey we all have to take in some form, and now we've done it; when we set out, we were all one sort of people, and now we've all changed profoundly in one way or another. On this journey, we've traversed the green fields of elementary school... the desert of middle school... and the rocky crags of high school. We have bested the exam dragon -- hopefully -- and we have battled the puberty monster.
I actually think I may have lost that battle.
Come on, now.
So, at the end of it all, what have we learned? We've learned how to conjugate verbs in several different languages. We've learned that you should calculate the integers inside the brackets first. We've learned that, throughout history, a whole lot of bad things have happened, and we'd better not do them all over again. We've learned to measure twice and cut once; to wash our hands before we cook, and to wash the dirtiest dishes last; and, most important, we've learned to fill in the bubbles on our Scantron sheets completely, in pencil.
And we have learned many little, intangible things that we are all going to need in the years to come.
Thanks to all of you, and thanks to the support that we, as the class of 2006, have given each other, we are ready for the life ahead of us.
In the first half of the twentieth century, Dag Hammarskjold, a Swedish United Nations official, said that the longest journey of any person is the journey inward. I think that's true...
That wasn't a joke.
The rest of our lives are going to be about introspection and discovery. Today, we finish our first journey. Tomorrow, we start our longest.
We are ready.