Roland-Story High School celebrated graduation on Sunday, with 77 students participating in commencement excercises.
Commencement speakers were Hailey Louw and Jenna Clark. Following are their prepared speeches:
By Hailey Louw
To the class of 2018, faculty, school board members, parents, and distinguished guests, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to speak at such a monumental event for each and every one of you, including myself.
For those in the audience who are not familiar with me, allow me to introduce myself. Despite how it is spelled, my name is Hailey Louw, now Lauw, not Loo, just Louw. I am the president of the Roland-Story chapter of the National Honor Society.
During the short time I have to give this speech, there are two things I’d like you to leave with today.
First: Your future can wait. You are here. Right here, right how at Roland-Story High School on May 27, 2018. And before I dive into this, I’d like each and every one of you to close your eyes for just a moment. Take a deep breath, and just appreciate the moment you are in right now, because it’s never going to happen again. As each of us leave this gym today, we are all going to go out and do something great in this world. And we’re ready. Every day since kindergarten, we’ve been asked what we’re going to do when we grow up. Well, now we’re here. But now that we’re here, it’s kind of scary, right? This life we’ve been planning for since we were six years old is about to start. This isn’t to scare you, but to reassure you. It’s going to be okay. With this being said, I’d like to challenge you, and myself, to something greater as we leave this building. Live in this moment. Stop worrying about the future so much that you forget the fact that you are living now. Remember, five or 10 years ago, this was your future. Enjoy the small things. Whether it be sitting in rush hour or picking up the mail, try and find joy and contentment in each and every moment of your life, because one day we will blink and it’s all going to be over. My hope is that none of you will sit at the end of your life and wonder where it all went. So take the scenic route. Talk to that person you see sitting by themselves. Just go to the Iowa State Fair and people-watch, because let’s be honest, that’s really the best part. And don’t forget the fried food on a stick.
Second: This country is awesome. No matter how you slice it, or what your future professors may say, we have the privilege to live in the greatest country of opportunity in the world and to be a part of it. People will tell you that we aren’t great anymore, or that the American Dream is dead. This is simply not true. For those of you who don’t know me, or wonder why my name is spelled in such an odd way, I am the daughter of an immigrant, and have seen this dream in play my entire life. My father’s work ethic has helped instill the values within me that have put me in this position today. When I see him work day in and day out, I ask him what makes him willing to work as hard as he does. He tells me that this is the only country in the world where you have the opportunity to change your situation, and work your way to where you want to be. I run my own business, and I’ve seen how great it is to work in the country we live in. It’s easy to get discouraged at times when you get knocked down, but remember, we have the opportunity to get back up. Don’t play into the hands of the naysayers of the world. Use this present moment and make the most out of it because it will be gone in a second. Realize the opportunity that lies ahead of you. We have the greatest advantage of any young population in the world, and that is living in this great country.
So as I conclude this speech today, I’d like to say thank you again for allowing me this great opportunity to speak. Remember – your future can wait, and you live in a great country with great opportunities. So strap on your boots, and get ready for what lies ahead. Because it’s crunch time.
A New Chapter
By Jenna Clark
Welcome class of 2018 to the day we’ve all been waiting for. As I look among our class, I see 77 individuals. Some have known each other all their life while others may have moved into this school district at different ages. Either way, no two people are alike. However, the one thing we do have in common is that we will all be graduates of Roland-Story and stepping into “the real world.” Now, some may say, “Wow, the real world. … Have we not been living in it for the past 18 years?” Yes, it sounds silly, but from here on out, it will be a very exciting and scary time of our lives. High school is just a portion of our lives. Just a portion of it. This is a new chapter; our stories are just beginning. As you leave this school today, I encourage you to find your purpose and be mindful of the change that will come your way.
What is purpose? The definition of purpose is the reason for which something exists. Right now, it may feel like we’re back in Mr. Klett’s class and talking about philosophy. But honestly, think to yourself, what is your purpose? It’s a pretty loaded question. Some may already know their purpose, and others don’t. That’s okay. Now is the time to find whatever you love, whatever you are passionate about, and go out and get it. But let’s make one thing clear. Your occupation doesn’t define you. Your purpose isn’t your job or what gives you a paycheck. Your future job will be part of who you are, but it doesn’t define you. What defines you is your character, work ethic, and how you treat others. Your purpose is the why and the what. It’s the why you want that specific job. It’s why you get up every morning. And ask yourself what you can do for others.
These days we do too much comparing. Pursue your calling in life and don’t worry about what other people say. Jon Gordon once said, “Your path is your path. Don’t compare it to others. Everyone’s journey, timeline, gifts, constraints, obstacles, and triumphs are different.” Each occupation has a purpose as do you. If you are going into the military, working, going to a two-year college, or a four-year university, follow that dream. Use this time in your journey to try new experiences and find something you enjoy, something worthwhile.
While searching for your purpose, I also want you all to be mindful of change. Change is inevitable. You can plan for your future, but be prepared for those plans to not go as planned. Just as Thomas Rhett puts it, “You make your plans and you hear God laughing.” Your life may not go as planned so be ready for bumps in the road. When you encounter those, know that you have the skills, the experiences, the relationships to succeed. Roland-Story has helped by providing us with the tools to overcome challenges. There are teachers, friends, and family members here who have poured into us. Don’t forget about the people around you who have helped you become the person you are today.
Fellow classmates, I stand here today and tell you that we have the opportunity to go out into the “real world” and make something of ourselves. Enjoy the process of finding your purpose and adjusting your plans. And if all else fails, full send.