When my mom and dad approached me about speaking today I was quite apprehensive and to be honest I was terrified.
So I began to think what I wanted to say and how I could possibly find the words to honor such a wonderful sister. It came to me that maybe the best way for me to honor her would be to relive one of her greatest accomplishments and something that we are all so proud of her for. So I have chosen to read some excerpts from her valedictorian address from her high school graduation in 1999.I have to apologize though as the last person who was in this gym reading this had far better grades than me and was much better looking.
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 and 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 honor 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 honor role 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, savoring 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.
That final paragraph offered such a wonderful summation of Lindsay’s monumental life. I take comfort in the fact that it is exactly the way my sister lived her life and although she did leave us far too early she did leave happy and content. I encourage you all to leave today and remember Lindsay’s message “life is fragile so live every day to the fullest and every moment like it could be your last.”
Love you forever big sis…