I’d like to start with the first stanza of “Where the Sidewalk Ends,” by Shel Silverstein. It reads:
There is a place where the sidewalk endsTo cool in the peppermint wind.
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
As I stand here, I cannot help but think of the finality of this event. We are here to celebrate not just one of the biggest turning points in our lives, but also the past four years that have led up to this day. From this point forward, we must make our own way into the future. Our sidewalk has in fact ended. Ahead lies the road leading to the rest of our lives.
The sidewalk behind us has been smoothly paved. There have been cracks in the sidewalk, but we’ve always had a helping hand to catch us if we trip. Our parents, teachers, and friends have been there to guide us in our choices and steer us towards the right path. Now, it is our time to make our own choices and take responsibility for the outcomes. Many of us will trip in the transition from sidewalk to road, but each and every one of us has the ability to pick ourselves back up and continue on.
The road ahead leads over the horizon to an unknown destination. We cannot see the future, but if we do not take steps toward it, we cannot reap the rewards the adventure will bring. While the median between sidewalk and road might seem pleasing, we must be careful to avoid being entranced and trapped by our current situations. Never settle for less.
The best things in life are those worth working and fighting for. A prosperous future belongs to those who do not let themselves be content with what they have accomplished in the past and press forward into the unknown for a brighter place.
Our future belongs to us. We now confront the world, ready to make our marks and claim our prizes. The year 2012 doesn’t mark the end of the world, but a new beginning for our fantastic graduating class. We now boldly step off the sidewalk and onto the road to lead us onwards. It's time to shape the world how we want it and not sit passively in the back seat while others make our decisions for us.
Class of 2012, it is our time. Seize it! The future belongs to us. It’s time to take matters into our own hands and make this great country, nay, this world, a better place.
Our accomplishments thus far are most likely a result of our own determination mixed with help received from many different people. For me, I could not have made it to where I am today without the support of a few key individuals. Kevin Minck and Rory Wagner have been my friends since I was seven years old, and they continue to support me to this day. Rachelle Martin and Nicole Eccles have been instrumental in helping me through some tough times.
Teachers such as Mrs. Merideth, Mr. Stone, Mr. Way, Mr. Baits, and too many others to list have not only been valuable educators, but also friends. To the Helix Highlander Band, thank you for providing a home for the past four years and for letting me have the honor of being your Drum Major.
Lastly, I must thank my parents. Mom, Dad: You are the best parents anyone could ever ask for. You’ve always supported me in everything I’ve done and I cannot express how grateful I am for you. I love you.
As our sidewalk ends and we make strides into our own lives, we can be thankful that Helix High School has given us so many tools for success. Now comes the time to use what we’ve learned and pave the road ahead.
There will definitely be some tough times for all of us, so I’d like to end with a bit of advice from an old headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. As Albus Dumbldore would say, “Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” Thank you teachers and parents, and thank you class of 2012, the class who kept the world from ending.