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Column: Parents, teachers give life's greatest lessons

District 518

WORTHINGTON -- Good evening fellow students, faculty, parents and friends. The big night is finally here. After 12 years of education, we can finally call ourselves high school graduates. It wasn't the easiest or most fun journey, but we made it. We started in elementary school where naps, snack time, and coloring with your favorite crayon was your biggest concern. I've also heard from a number of you that rollerskating in the basement at Central Elementary was a big deal. Then, in middle school, you were the hottest thing since sliced bread if you got to school early enough to walk around the lockers at least 50 times with your friends. And who could forget those amazing after school dances? Finally, in high school, we redefined our personalities and discovered who we truly are -- what we like, what we believe in and what we want out of life. At this point, I'd say 12 years of learning has really paid off.

Over the years, we have learned many of life's greatest lessons. And how did we learn these lessons? The answer is our parents and teachers. Parents, on behalf of this senior class, I want to thank you for the past 18 years. You've taught us many things, such as potty training, riding a bike without training wheels, color coordinating clothes and making good decisions. As we became older, you never stopped teaching us or showing support. We appreciate all you've done for us, from giving rides here and there, to forking over money to pay for activities, to watching our concerts and athletic events. You care for us unconditionally, and we couldn't ask for more outstanding parents. Although many of us are moving away from home this fall, know that we will always remember and be thankful for all the little things you did for us.

Teachers. It's because of your constant dedication that has helped us become successful. You devote so much time to help students, and we are grateful for your efforts in pushing us to achieve excellence. We've learned that a "loss of innocence" can be found just about anywhere. And through your dancing at the Academic Banquet, you taught us to never stop believing in ourselves or settling for less. You've given us the knowledge to make it in this world outside of high school, and we're definitely prepared. So, thank you for giving us the tools to "put the biscuit in the basket."

Seniors. First, make sure to thank these teachers before you walk out the lobby doors for the last time, and, thank your parents when you get home. Next, I want you to know that our class is very unique, but that shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. We have many different interests, talents and abilities. Therefore, we'll all be taking different paths after tonight. Some of us will pursue athletics, become teachers or even make it in the music business. Whatever your path is, don't ever give up. A quote that I like says, "You have three choices in life. You can give up, give in or give it your all." I truly hope all of you sitting here will give your dreams everything you have inside of you. And if you don't succeed or have a change of mind, hold your head up and keep going. Like our senior quote says, "We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious, and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths." Keep that in mind with all your dreams and ambitions. Continue to push yourself out of your comfort zone, try new things and become all that you're meant to be.

So, dream big, be passionate and never stop learning from those around you. We've already noticed how our parents and teachers have impacted our lives through learning, but don't let it stop there. There is always something to learn; something to experience.

I'm honored to walk this stage with such a phenomenal graduating class. We're going to go so far in life and make many dreams a reality. Thanks for the memories and congratulations, seniors. Hopefully you've made the most of your years here at Worthington High School, and I wish you all the best. Now, let's get the show on the road and hand out the diplomas. Thank you.

Deann Naab gave one of the student speeches at the May 28 Worthington High School commencement ceremony. The others will be published in this space in subsequent weeks.