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Column: Most of all, we'll remember our friends

Editor's note: The following is the speech the author gave at the Worthington High School commencement ceremony May 22. Other speeches from the event will be published in future editions.

WORTHINGTON -- Welcome everyone to the class of 2009's graduation ceremony. Every year the senior class has the opportunity to vote for the senior class officers. These officers then have a part in choosing things to represent our class and the senior class gets to vote on them. Class flower, graduation gowns, and class motto. This year for the class motto our class picked something that I believe is at the base of everyone's heart. It's an anonymous quote that reads, "Life brings us tears, smiles, and memories - the tears dry, the smiles fade, but the memories last forever." We will always have the memories of our time during our school years. The memories of our teachers, family, and friends will stick with us.

Our teachers have had many kids through the years. They've helped us grow and become who we are. Our teachers have treated us like their own kids in some ways. They watch over us, make sure we get our homework done, and are genuinely concerned about our well-being. They have had different roles in each student's life. Some students could only learn how to read in school and their teachers were there to help them. Some, like myself, dealt with stage fright when they were little and a teacher found a way to help. Others found a role model in a teacher, and tried to refocus parts of their life. Teachers have taken students on their good days and bad days and as students we will always remember how they were always there for us.

Our parents were also always by our sides. They have helped us grow the most and they have taught us life lessons that will never leave us. They have been there for every step in our lives and that includes our first steps. They've tried to make it to all the sporting events, concerts, and presentations they could. They have made us the people we are today and that is impossible to forget. And they have been teaching us independence through our whole lives. They taught us how to eat on our own, ride a bike by ourselves, and how to drive a car solo and they are the reason we are all here before you today.

But the biggest source of our school memories will always be our friends. We've been with each other for 13 years. K-12. People have come and people have gone, but we will never forget them. We'll be able to call up our high school friends years from now when we're older and be able to share memories with each other. We'll remember how our true friends we're always just a phone call away if we needed them. We'll remember staying up late chatting on Facebook even though there was a paper due first thing, first block. You can do it in the morning, right? We'll remember thinking it was a good idea to eat 10 pounds of junk food in 6 1/2 minutes. We'll remember the things like jumping into the lake with all our clothes on and remember the crazy things we did when we liked someone. No matter where we all go in the upcoming fall, we will never truly leave each other because of the memories and bonds that we share.

It is inevitable that we will all grow old someday, and our minds will forget things. Right, Mom? However, the really important memories will never fade. These are the memories that made you happier than you had ever been, or laugh so hard you almost wet yourself, or made you cry so hard you didn't think the tears would ever dry. These define who we are. And now today, after we receive our diplomas and shake hands with our faculty, the memory of graduation will be added to our lives.