“Only when we learn to be humble about ourselves, can we begin to respect others”
Good afternoon and welcome, fellow graduates of the class of 1999, parents, teachers and guests.
I would like to begin by saying that this is not a typical speech for a graduation. Although I do feel excitement, as I am sure everyone else does at moving on to a new stage in life, that is not what I will be speaking about. And although, I do wish for everyone here to reach for the stars, that is not what I will be speaking of either.
Over the past 13 years of education, all of us have learned a tremendous amount. However, I hope that we have learned more than how to solve an algebra equation, write an English essay or determine the answer to a science problem. I hope that we have learned among other things, to be humble. If we learn nothing else from the events in Littleton and Taber, we should learn humility.
Only when we learn to be humble about ourselves can we begin to respect others. If our years of education at Cochrane High have only shown us the thrill of victory on the playing field or on the honour roll, then they have not taught us much. These victories teach us to respect the worth of our opponents, either in sports, on the football field, the basketball court or track, or over the classmates we compete with every day. Everyone has something unique to offer. It may not be their ability to throw a touchdown pass or ace an exam, it may be the way that they can make someone laugh, or the way that they lift someone with their kindness. And on this day, I believe that respect for what each one of us have to offer, is more important that winning. We need to see past the car that a person drives, the kind of jeans he wears, or the way that he does his hair, and see the person inside, for that is the most important part. Everyone is special. Perhaps realizing that is a greater accomplishment than being on the honour roll or winning the game.
Only by being humble, can we learn to treasure life. We have been reminded by the events in Littleton and Taber that life is fragile. But this reminder can be a blessing if it teaches us to appreciate life. Long ago, poets coined a phrase to the fragility of life, which has become our school motto, “Carpe Diem.” Seize the day. We need to live life to the fullest, savouring each moment. We should embrace every opportunity that we encounter, because it may never come our way again. The more we accomplish in life, the less we have to regret. Knowing this, who among us would want to let a petty misunderstanding or harsh word come between ourselves and a friend? Who among us would waste life complaining of boredom when there is so much out there to experience. Who would want to pass up an opportunity to chase our dreams or show someone how much we care? We need to strive to live our lives so that, when our time has come, we can leave happily, knowing that we accomplished everything that we could in our short time on earth.
I hope that as we leave Cochrane High, we all look back with fond memories, acknowledging that we accomplished as much as we could in the four years that we attended this school. I will always remember the crowded hallways, smiling faces and friendly people here.
I would like to thank all of the teachers for putting up with us for the past four years and preparing us to enter into whatever the future holds for us. We all thank you for this.
I would also like to thank the parents for their many years of support and encouragement. It means a lot to know that there will always be someone for you.
And to the graduating class of 1999, I wish you all the best in all of your future pursuits. I wish you all of the happiness in the world, no matter which path your life takes. Remember to follow your dreams, be true to yourself and reach for the stars in everything that you do.
Congratulations and good luck.