Good evening friends, family, and distinguished guests.
Henry Ward Beecher once said, "Greatness comes not in being strong, but in the right using of strength." Over the past 6 years, each of us has found greatness through strength; and as we continue on to new beginnings and profound experiences, we will continue to be great.
As I look back upon the time we have spent at this school, I see many things. I see good times bad times, periods of stress and of fun, exciting experiences, and somewhat less than scintillating experiences. Yet, every challenge or hardship of our high school career has been met with hard work and confidence by each and every graduate. Our class has endured an uncountable number of essays, several extensive projects, and a million and one current events, all of which we've had to balance with sports, activities, and socialization. We've faced stress, frustration and disagreements, and yet, we made it through. We have accomplished so much in our high school years, that it is hard to imagine that only 6 years ago we were seventh graders just starting out in a new school. Each one of the 15 men and women to my left has worked very hard to be sitting here today, and each one has accomplished so much.
More specifically, let me state some of the accomplishments we have made: a member of our class won two medals in a swimming championship; one of us started a successful band; one of us finished a mini triathlon; a member of our class won an award for outstanding volunteerism and one of us was the President of the United States for a day. Several of us went to leadership programs throughout the U.S. and several of us have been on countless mission trips delivering supplies to schools on Ebeye. A student in our class led the whole school through two Turkey Bowls and a Bigej trip. One of us went to the Olympics. Members of our class performed in Kaleidoscope; We have an accomplished artist; We have a newcomer who overcame shyness and became part of our family; we have a class president who led us through numerous successful fundraisers; we have a thriving ping pong player and several remarkable basketball players. And finally, 3 graduates sitting before you each spent over 2,340 hours on a boat over their school years to come to Kwaj for school alone. Clearly, we are a successful group of young people. But tonight we commemorate one of our greatest achievements yet, the completion of our high school career. Each member of the Class of 2010 before you has achieved greatness. They have made it through 1,080 days of high school, and each one used their own strength to make it through.
But tonight isn't all about looking back on the past; it's about looking to the future, Even though we've already accomplished so much, we still have a long way to go. I have no doubt in my mind that each one of these fine young men and women will be successful; that they will use their strength on the path towards future greatness. While many of us are going to college and some are going into the military, we have all started preparing for the future and I know that we will all greet the future with determination and open minds full of knowledge.
For it is through the right using of our strength that we must continue to be great. For greatness is not a destination, but rather, a journey that we must strive to take throughout our lives. But greatness will not come on its own. We have to look for it, seek it out, knock on its door and become its friend. How will we find greatness through strength? Utilize the resources, the knowledge, that we have. For the muscles do not move without our effort, the brain does not work without our thinking. Just the same way, our strength will come when we use it and use in the right way.
From this point on, it now becomes our decision to use our strength to the best of our ability or to let it pass us by. We have been given all the tools that we need for future greatness, and now it is our turn to use those tools to continue to be great. We must learn to try and when we don't succeed we must learn to fail. But success never comes without failure and neither success nor failure is permanent.
Thus, as we each receive a diploma tonight, we each must look upon it not as a certificate that marks success, but as an invitation. It is an invitation to use our strength, to be great, to make a difference, and to change the world. Our diploma that we are about to receive marks the beginning of that time when we are no longer in high school, no longer under the shelter of our loving parents, and now have become independent young men and women setting out to be great and to make a difference in the world.
Finally, as we celebrate tonight, let us look ahead, but also look back upon our years of school and let that be a lesson that through the use of our strength we can continue to be great. Let us use that lesson and all the strength that we have gained here to guide us to future greatness. To the class of 2010, our diplomas put us further on our journey of greatness; now, it is up to us to continue along that path. Use your strength and let it guide you throughout your life. I know you can be successful and I know you will. Congratulations, Class of 2010. We made it!