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Column: New graduates will keep moving forward

District 518

WORTHINGTON -- Just think, 13 years ago we were "graduating" from kindergarten, imagining what it will be like to have a full day of school next year. Then we moved up in the ranks; we had our first crushes -- for some of us they still exist and we are just too shy to tell them. Moving forward, we hit middle school ... and puberty. Suddenly we were noticing the opposite gender a lot more. We learned a lot about ourselves and what we wanted to be. As we finally hit high school, as freshmen, we were terrified. I thought my older brother would watch out for me, but that was definitely not the case. As sophomores we were confident in ourselves and were amazed at the amount of freshmen. By junior year, we were more concerned with getting most or all of our credits in so we could slack off as seniors. And now, we are sitting in this stuffy gym, with our friends and family close behind us watching us in one of the most important moments in our lives, the soon-to-be graduated class of 2010.

It's going to feel empty without this great class roaming the halls next year; we all knew what it was like when our senior friends graduated and moved away. But like all things in life, high school moves in a cycle, and next year there will be new seniors with new goals and adventures, getting ready to be released into a new world.

"We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious, and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths." This is our class quote by Walt Disney. As we move on to college and our other plans that we have made, we will constantly keep moving forward and heading down new paths that will make us the best we could ever be. Joel Osteen said, "People respond when you tell them there is a great future in front of you, you can leave your past behind." Some of us in this room may have a rough past, but a future goal of being a doctor, lawyer or a CEO; some people may have a goal of getting married and having a happy family. But no matter what your goal is, as long as you are persistent and keep working at it, you will achieve that goal. But just remember what John Lennon said, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." Don't make too many plans; take life as it comes and do what you want while you can, and at all times you can.

A lot of us have mixed feelings about tonight. Some of us aren't ready to leave; some are so ready to get out of here it's not even funny. Some wonder why we have to leave; some wonder what's taking me so long with this speech. But all in all, we will miss it, we have memories here, good and bad, and now we have made it through all the ranks of school and it's our turn to take the leap and move on and start our life anew. Soon we will be asked to walk across this stage, take our diploma and become official alumni to Worthington High School. I'm sure that as we make the journey across the stage, our school life is going to flash before our eyes: we'll once again see ourselves sitting in circle time in kindergarten, watch ourselves running around at free play. We'll laugh at our childish mistakes, and we'll cry when we relive troubling times. By the time we reach the end of this stage, we'll be moving on to our future plans. Just remember what you were taught when you were younger -- you can be anything you want to be.

This is a big moment and we should remember every second of it. So seniors, we've done all that we can do here, we've learned all that we can learn, we've experienced all that we can experience, and after tonight, we'll have one final high school memory: that night, on May 28, 2010, in a hot, stuffy gym, when we officially became the graduated class of 2010. Congrats seniors, we made it!

Kathleen Fleming gave this speech at the May 28 Worthington High School commencement ceremony.