Column: Change - an opportunity to leadEditor’s note: The following is the third of the three student speeches given during the Worthington High School commencement ceremony May 20 to be published in the Daily Globe.
By: Nicole Ektnitphong, District 518, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — My fellow classmates: all the hard work, dedication, courage, and sacrifice have brought us here to celebrate this defining moment — a memorable milestone in our young lives. Commencement, not the ending, but in its actual context: the beginning.
Change: not the kind in your pockets, but the kind that each us of experience every day. A change is an inevitable event that is bound to happen — whether we like it or not. Take the change to a 30-minute lunch our class suffered through during our junior year. We waited our whole high school career to legally go out to lunch and it was shortened by 10 minutes. Who ever knew 10 minutes could make such a difference!
Change is not always such a terrible or traumatic event. We have had many opportunities during our years in this school that have benefited us as students with the addition of tutor programs, choices of honors or AP classes, musicians with all state auditions, festivals or mini tours, athletes with tougher competition, camps and tournaments, leaders with student organizations and, in the end as people, helping us learn who we are and who we strive to become.
We have gone through changes that have affected us directly from change of classes, teachers, principals or close friends. There have been huge modifications worldwide in our lifetime that have affected us indirectly for example: with the election of President Obama campaigning a change we can believe in, the revolution in Egypt, the outbreak in Libya, the earthquake in Japan, and the assassination of Osama bin Laden. Truly the hard work that has brought us all here today is to embrace the greatest change we as youths have made. It has only taken us 12 years, but here we are.
With change comes courage. Every person sitting here with their crisp caps and gowns has gone through an immense amount of remodeling in their lives. But it’s not about the struggle through times of change that says what kind of a person you are, but it is the strength within each of us to overcome it all. We all have shown courage in our own individual ways throughout our times at this school. For you it may have been the courage to stand up for what is right or the courage to do what is right, the courage to be honest in times of difficulty or even just the courage to show up to school every day. All of our supporters that are here today in this gym all hope that as we go on and live out our lives we show courage in times of challenge and change. So thank you to the parents, the families, the teachers and staff for helping us achieve this goal that brings us here today.
As future leaders the courage it will take to deal with the events and issues going on today can be small or big. You never know the power of a single act of courage and how it can inspire someone else to do the same. Whoever would have thought Rosa Parks’ simple act of courage, to stand up for her beliefs and to refuse to give up her seat, would shape the whole nation we live in today.
Some of us here today, including our parents, are wondering how our lives are going to turn out. It is OK to wonder, but I also think it is important to realize that our future is not something that is going to happen to us. It is something we have to make happen — something we have to create.
So Worthington High School’s class of 2011: Don’t follow your dreams, lead them and to put it into better terms. As Gandhi would say, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”