Student speeches from 2019 Live Oak HS graduation

VALEDICTORIAN Live Oak High School Class of 2019 Valedictorian Kelli St. Clair delivers her commencement address at the June 7 graduation ceremony.

Valedictorian Kelli St. Clair

Friends, family and staff, it is an honor to be here today, and I am extremely grateful for the pleasure of speaking on behalf of my fellow classmates. On our final day of public education, let us reminisce on all the good times we have had together.

Thirteen years ago we were young children, letting go of our parents’ hands for the first time and meeting our first teachers. Thirteen years ago we met for the very first time, eyes wide and excited about the prospect of new playmates. Thirteen years ago we spent our days painting and playing tag around the blacktop of our elementary schools. Thirteen years ago, we thought our neighbors had cooties, and would run away from anyone who we thought was “it.”

We learned to add, and spell, count and sing. Thirteen years ago today, we graduated kindergarten. Twelve years ago we entered the “big kid rooms”, and our classes became a number instead of a letter. Twelve years ago, we began learning different subjects: math, spelling, science.

Ten years ago we learned multiplication, and we could finally go on the big kid playground. Six years ago we were “promoted” to middle school with six classes a day. And what a promotion that was.

Four years ago we were “fresh meat,” terrified children with cracking voices and awkward clumsiness. Four years ago we were at our first day, scared of being shoved into lockers and beat up like we saw in “High School Musical.” Four years ago we learned that high school isn’t nearly as scary as it’s made out to be. Four years ago we signed up for our very first AP classes, and three years ago we took our very first standardized test.

Two years ago we were stressing over who to ask to Sadie’s, and just last year we stayed up until 5:03am writing that eight-page research paper that we hadn’t started until the day it was due.

This year, we spent hours applying to colleges and scholarships, hoping that all we have done in these four years would get us into the school of our dreams. Four months ago we learned of our acceptances, and just last month we chose where to spend the next few years of our lives.  

And today—today marks the first day of a new beginning. Today is the day your education is chosen of your own volition, and you may pursue any career you feel passionate about. Whether you decide to continue your schooling or start your career now, you finally have choices ahead of you.

Never stop educating yourself, for it is the best investment you could ever make. No matter what you want to do, it is your choice to make. Become the artist you have always dreamed of being, or an engineer, a politician, a mechanic. Become a doctor and save lives, or become a school teacher and grow student minds.

No matter what you deign to do, it is you that can make it into a successful career. Starting today, you choose who you want to be, so go out and make the best of it. It is finally time for us all to branch off from the trunk of the tree and carve our own path. But while our journey together ends here—never forget—you will always be an Acorn.

Congratulations to the graduating class of 2019, I wish you all the best of luck. Go Nuts!

PARTING WORDS Live Oak High School Class of 2019 Salutatorian Brian Ho shares a laugh with his classmates as he delivers his commencement address at the June 7 graduation ceremony.

Salutatorian Brian Ho

We are gathered here today to commemorate all those who have worked so hard and diligently these past four years. It has been a remarkable chapter in all of our lives and a chapter that I am more than proud to have shared with all of you.

As this year’s salutatorian, I am honored to stand before you today and congratulate the class of 2019.

Take a good look around you. Take a moment to appreciate this time with your friends and family. There will not be another moment like this. Blink again, and you’ll be at your college graduation. Blink again, and you’ll be walking down the aisle. Blink again, you’ll be welcoming your first child into the world for the first time. Blink again, and you’ll be at your child’s high school graduation just as your parents are right now.

Do not fear, however, as all of you have many more years ahead of you. I know that in those years,there’s nothing that good old fashioned hard work cannot accomplish. Although it will pain me to see everyone that I’ve known for years carry on, I cannot wait to see all of you embark on your own journeys through life and find what makes you happy. Parents, take a good look at your children and be proud of what they have accomplished during their time here at Live Oak High School. I hope you are as happy as they are for their futures.

Many of us will be going on to college to pursue careers. Many of us are going to wonderful and prestigious schools such as UCLA, Berkeley, Davis, Santa Barbara, Cal Poly and San Jose State. The passion and hope that these students have for their dreams and their future studies clearly demonstrates that the future is in good hands. I have faith that these students will become the future’s engineers, business owners, designers, doctors and lawyers.

What I ask of all of you from this day forward is to never lose sight of what you want to accomplish. Life will show you no mercy—it’s inevitable. You will face hardships, speed bumps and times where things may seem impossible.

Parents in the audience understand exactly what I am talking about. There will be times when you want to give up. However, never settle for anything less than what you would consider a successful and wonderful life. Never give in to the doubts that hold you back from reaching the stars. Life shows no mercy, so neither do we.

Life is meant to be conquered by each and every one of you standing with me today.

As a final note, I would like to say that it has been a great honor being an alumnus of this campus and delivering this important message to you today. Once again, I congratulate the class of 2019 and I thank everyone present for attending this very special moment in our lives. Thank you.

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