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LHS valedictorian and Salutatorian speeches

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By Kathryn Peterson
Lockhart High School 2020 Valedictorian

Good morning family, friends, teachers, administrators, and class of 2020. I am humbled and thrilled to speak to you today as your valedictorian.
When I first started writing this speech, I found it to be much more difficult than I anticipated. What do I talk about? What do I address? How do I deliver a speech wearing a tent for a gown and a cat toy on my head? What do you do with this tassel anyway? Tuck it behind your ear?
I deliberated with Google to research how to write a valedictorian speech. But she didn’t really know either.
But as I began to think about the opportunities we missed and the friends we currently miss, I realized that I just needed to talk about us, the class of 2020.
In all seriousness it’s crazy how much everything has changed just within the last three months. I mean guys came back with beards and it’s kind of weird. How’s that for an end rhyme, Ms. Schaible?
And quarantine? Alright, let’s talk about that. I’m sure we all spent some great quality time with our families... let me rephrase that... I’m sure we all spent some great quality time with our Netflix account, binge-watching Avatar the Last Airbender. Sure, we can watch each other through social media and maybe even see each other at work, but it’s not the same. I mean, you’re watching a recorded version of me. My future self is watching me right now. Think about that for a minute. 
Anyway, I decided to write this speech about how we are able to overcome adversity. So, let’s begin.
The fitness gram pacer test is a multistage aerobic capacity test that progressively gets more difficult as it continues…
Oops wrong speech! Let’s try this again…
If you did not know already, our class moto had something to do with a clear vision of the future, or 2020 Vision. Let’s just be honest with each other, was this your vision of our 2020 high school graduation? 
Mandatory school closures, social distancing, self-quarantining, obsessive hand-washing, toilet paper hoarding, masking, finishing our senior year studies from home? Did you clearly envision 2020 like this? I mean, at the beginning of senior year in the fall of 2019, our main concern was just focusing on the new school year… 
…oh by the way, according to Google, at this point in a valedictorian speech, it is generally obligatory to share funny anecdotes of high school life. (now imagine some dramatic, sappy music playing behind me).
I should now recount stories of painting parking spaces, participating in fall sports, getting up early for band and theatre practice, not turning in assignments… And then of course, I should talk about memories of dancing together at Senior Prom, hugging each other at Class Night, and, oh wait… never mind.
So, maybe our “2020 vision” is not a clear outlook on the future, but rather a positive outlook on the present. I want to share a perspective based on lessons that I have learned in the world of the performing arts.
First, the show must go on. If you’re not familiar with the term, it means that despite falling scenery, sick actors and forgotten lines—as long as there is an audience—the show must continue. We are in a time when the scenery is falling, big city streets are filled with shouting and disappointment; cast members are getting sick and forgetting how to love and support each other; frankly, it looks a little bleak for the show right now. But the show must go on and we have a choice in how it goes on. The Class of 2020 must influence the story of our lives by acting in kindness to one-another, by acting in a spirit of love and respect for one-another, and by unselfishly repairing the falling scenery of life. I challenge the Class of 2020 to raise their voices on the world’s stage to make a positive influence on “how” the show goes on.  

And yes, the show will go on because the show always goes on. For example, in the early 1600s during an outbreak of the bubonic plague, a King’s council ordered Shakespeare’s Globe to close when numbers of cases reached certain amounts. Does that sound familiar? During the 1918 influenza epidemic, theatre-goers were often discouraged from attending shows as they were considered high-risk locations to catch the virus. Does that sound familiar?
Obviously, theatre returned after the 1918 influenza epidemic and as for Shakespeare, did he give up? Nope, he wrote Macbeth and King Lear and toured with his theatre company. So here we are now in 2020. Do we give up on our dreams, plans and expectations in life? Emphatically, no. In spite of this challenging and unfair year, we must overcome the disappointment of what was taken away from us and pursue our dreams with more fervor than ever. It sounds corny, but Class of 2020, chase your dreams, make your plans and live with expectant hope.
Secondly, give thanks to your audience, directors, and producers. Remember that there is always a team working backstage and behind the scenes to support the actors on the stage. In the same fashion, there are always supporters of your dreams. Thank them.
To that end, I would like to thank my parents and my sister for their consistent support and motivation. Thanks to all my teachers, and specific thanks to Ms. Schaible, Ms. Worthington, and Ms. Branson. Their dedication and love of education and the arts inspired me and many of you.
Finally, congratulations to you, the Class of 2020. As the curtain closes on this act and you prepare for the next act, pursue your dreams, live your plans, and most of all, break a leg.

By Emilie Moneyhon
Lockhart High School Salutatorian

Good morning Lockhart High School class of 2020. We sit here today, six feet apart, because of the blood, sweat, and tears we have put into the past 12 years; however, we all know we would not be here if it wasn’t for the wonderful people that have supported us throughout the journey, so here comes the obligatory thank you.
Thank you, parents, for driving us to every practice, every performance, every competition…and only complaining a little. Thank you for the unconditional love that got us through the past four treacherous years. 
Thank you to every teacher who has invested their own time and money into the lives of this graduating class. You have shown us what it is to be a real leader even in stressful situations, like a classroom filled with 30 AP students who all think they know what they’re talking about and aren’t afraid to tell you. 
Thank you to the friends that made school worth going to and the friends that made you feel better about not having Mr. Lloyd’s work done yet, because they didn’t either.
 And finally thank you God for putting these wonderful people in our lives to help shape us into the men and women we are called to be. 
Now I understand what you’re thinking, and I completely agree. No one wants to hear some pseudo wisdom from an 18-year-old that sounds more pretentious than a Ted Talk. Instead I’m going to give you pseudo wisdom from multiple 18-year-olds. I think of my friends as some of the most mature and intelligent people I know, so I have compiled a short list of the most profound pieces of advice I have garnered from our time together and I hope it speaks to you as much as it has to me. 
1) Surround yourself with people exactly like you. Well not exactly, you should never close your mind to other opinions and personalities, but it’s good to have a couple peers that share similar beliefs to you. It’s just as important to foster the ideas in your mind with people who think like you as it is to check those ideas with an (ek-sentric) eccentric group of theatre nerds who challenge every belief you’ve ever had.
2) Be a kid. The most immature people are the ones that take life too seriously.
3) Don’t limit yourself and what you can achieve. Don’t settle for a job because it’s safe. Don’t settle for a school because you’re afraid of rejection. You are far more capable than you think.
4) If you mix Sprite, blue Powerade, and orange Fanta you will get a concoction (comp-ruble) comparable to battery acid
5) Try new things, especially if the thought of it terrifies you. Like let’s just say, for instance, your debate teacher, Ms. Hardaway, asks you the day before the UIL meet to try a new event that you’ve never even heard of before – Do it! I mean, yeah, you’re definitely gonna get last place but it’ll be fun… for someone. 
6) Nothing, and I mean nothing, is too serious to make fun of, including yourself.
7) The quieter you are the better people will listen.
8) Don’t speed in Martindale.
9) It’s ok to have fun without feeling guilty. You can do extra credit or ask for a retake on that test, but you’ll never be able to play hide and go seek in a half-built house or go to McDonalds at three in the morning after your last marching contest again.
10) Don’t stay angry, life is way too short to hold grudges.
And finally, number 11, and then I promise I’ll leave. No amount of accolades and awards will ever fill the place in your heart for fellowship. I’ve spent too much time trying to be the best, I’ve wasted so much energy trying to reach this impossible idea of success that I’ve created in my head when in reality the true meaning of my life has been right in front of me this whole time. It’s people. It’s my friends. It’s all the relationships I have been able to form over my lifetime. At your funeral, sorry I know it’s a bit dark, they won’t be talking about your GPA, or your SAT score or even that time your scored the highest on one of Schaible’s essays; rather they will remember all the great times had around the campfire, or all the stupid jokes that had the whole squad laughing, or the great days spent cruising around Lockhart in a beat-up, white Chevy pickup with your best friends. In short, to quote a good friend of mine, “No man is a failure who has friends”.
Anyways that’s just my two cents, take from it what you wish and leave what you thought was stupid. I am so honored to have been able to grow and learn during such a crucial part of my life with all you great people. To the incoming seniors, good luck, and to everyone have a roaring lion day.

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