LHS Salutatorian Graduation Speech


It’s been approximately 2,016,139 minutes since we’ve started high school. And I mean sure, that seems like a large number, which it is, yet somehow, at times it’s felt like one simple minute. Since the beginning of freshman year, we’ve counted down the days… the hours… the minutes until graduation…
And guess what? Well, we’re here… We’ve arrived at graduation… We’ve reached the end. We’ve reached our final minutes.
But, just because it’s the end doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy it. Sure, it’s bittersweet, just as most things in life are. And as terrifying as it is, we must accept that this chapter of our lives is now over and we must walk gracefully into the “real world.”
The reality of the “real world” is that we will hear more No’s than we hear Yeses and we will fail a lot, and I mean a whole lot. but I ask that you do not take no for an answer. Do not be afraid of No’s. Rather, be afraid of the possibility of Yeses. Because the fact of the matter is that the universe will reward you when you take an act of courage that aligns with your morals.
I hope that I speak for all of us when I say that we’ve grown over the past 4 years. Grown for the better, that is and if you feel like you haven’t yet, I promise you have. We’ve learned through love and loss and we’ve been nurtured by some incredible teachers and admin. You know, I’ll be the first one to gladly admit that I’ve learned more life lessons while at LHS than I did learn course material for my AP tests (and that’s saying a lot because my teachers have been incredible!)
And you know, I’m not necessarily upset about that either. I’ve had the privilege of being taught by teachers that respected and genuinely cared about me, so my high school experience had been smooth sailing ever since freshman year. (We don’t talk about COVID though, that was rough for all of us.)
Except I will talk about COVID because living through it was most definitely a bizarre experience. As I mentioned earlier, we, as a community, have grown through love and loss (emphasis on the loss). So, with that being said, I want us all to take a moment to think of someone you’re thankful for. They can be alive or passed, present or absent. Anyone…Now, it is up to you and your conscience whether or not you let them know, but always remember one minute can make all the difference.
As for me, it’s been my parents and grandparents, who came here with nothing but who’ve managed to give me everything. And really to anyone that’s been a part of my story, which I know there’s been a ton, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. So, if you would please, allow me to repeat it, but this time in Spanish.
Le dedico este discurso y todo mi esfuerzo a mis padres y a mis abuelos, quienes llegaron a este país sin nada, pero lograron darme todo. Ustedes saben que yo siempre iré por más. Muchísimas gracias.
So let’s continue talking about love. Let’s talk about the love we’ve nurtured over these past four years.
Let’s talk about the love we’ve received from our classmates and friends, who hopefully, have become more than just that. Hopefully they’ve become family.
You know, I wrote this speech in the middle of a Cheddar’s, the restaurant, surrounded by my own friends. They didn’t know I was writing it because I wanted to have some introspective moments as I thought back to our countless memories together. I couldn’t imagine going through this treacherous journey without them and I hope you all feel the same way about at least one of your peers beside you because I know none of us would’ve made it here without each other’s support.
So, as soon to be high school graduates, I urge you to do good in this world. Take the lessons you’ve learned from those around you and remember to live them out with pride. As you enter the next chapter of your life, whether it’s college, trade school, or joining the workforce, remember to be a lifelong learner. Not just here, but during every minute and every hour.
No matter your future endeavors, the only way there’s a future for any of us is if we turn into better humans together.
Please always face your impossible with grace, style, and a smile. Remember to always love and put yourself first and please never let anyone decide your fate.
As the lyricist J. Cole once said:
“It’s beauty in the struggle, ugliness in the success.
“There’s always gonna be people that have a [car] that’s better than the one you got;
“There’s always gonna be some clothes that’s fresher than the ones you rock;
“There’s always gonna be a house somewhere with bigger doors;
“But you ain’t never gonna be happy until you love yours.”
I ask only one thing of you all today after you leave: Do not fear failure but please be terrified of regret.
Congratulations to you, the Lockhart High School Class of 2023. I wish you nothing short of growth and prosperity.
Thank you,

Erick Lara Barrientos


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