Luke’s Valedictorian Speech

Below you will find my son Luke’s valedictorian speech.  Oh, how a mother’s heart hurts when it is time for a child to leave the nest, but how thankful to God I am for no regrets and how proud of this young man I am.

      “Good afternoon, family, friends, educators, fellow classmates and Matt Zahn. I am honored to represent the 2013 graduating class of Clinton High School as a valedictorian.

“Now, before we start, let’s be honest and clarify three things. First, no one here wants to listen to some overachiever talk about his or her accomplishments. Second, I am not thrilled about giving this speech to hundreds of people. And finally, this speech will not be warm, fuzzy, and filled with Dr. Seuss quotes. I apologize.

“Fellow classmates, it is time to move forward. We are no longer little tykes whose only concern is if the other kindergarten kids will break out Lego hospital or if we will be able to color inside the lines of our worksheets. It is no longer acceptable to sit around and play video games all day or spend hours retweeting your best friend’s jokes that really aren’t that funny. The time has come to stop being irresponsible, slacking off and making impulsive decisions. It is finally time to stop wasting days away on Facebook or listening to songs saying “YOLO”. It is time to grow up.

“Throughout high school, there have been great memories along with a fair share of bad memories. This graduation ceremony and the parties that follow are a great time to reflect on the events and many years spent together with friends at this school. But, eventually, these memories need to become what they really are: memories. We can remember the relationships and whatnot, but in the end, grasping too tightly to the past will only restrain us. We must understand that what happened in the past cannot be changed and it is time to take another step forward.

“As we head off to our respective universities, colleges, jobs and trade schools, it is imperative to recognize a few things that will be beneficial down the road.

“To begin with, it is crucial to realize that we are humans and that we will die someday. Understanding this basic fact of life, we need to set our eyes on what we want to live for, before we leave this earth. We could reach for money or fame, but when you die you can take neither with you. If money and fame could fill the soul anyway, then why are so many rich and famous people still depressed? It is because they are trying to fill a large void with useless trinkets and treasures. On the flip side, we can live our lives to please the God of the Universe who sent his son Jesus to die for our sins. That is what I have chosen, and I am thankful for God’s grace, because without it, I wouldn’tImage be who I am today. Now, you can chase material possessions to your heart’s content, but when all that fails you, remember God is still there waiting for you.

“Secondly, it is important to develop a good work ethic. I have realized in my years at Clinton High School that hard work is vital to success. Albert Einstein, Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Abraham Lincoln. All of these people had tremendous work ethics which led to success in their respective fields. It would be nonsensical for an employer to give a raise to someone who skips work, cuts corners and does a terrible job. However, many kids still take shortcuts and fall into laziness instead of doing a good job. Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters”. We need to remember to give our all not just in the big things, but also in the little tasks.

“In addition, seek out wisdom. Don’t be content with mindless amusements such as TV, video games and social media. Do something! Read a book for once, go outdoors, stay up to date with the news and read the Bible. The world needs more people who seek wisdom rather than people who take exactly what is told to them through movies and music. Push yourself intellectually to learn something and when you go to college, strive to be the best in your major rather than settling for mediocre.

“And finally, I would like to leave you with some words from the late John Wooden, a highly successful coach, man of integrity and a man of God: “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”

Thank you all, God Bless and Go Bucks!”


19 thoughts on “Luke’s Valedictorian Speech

  1. Amy Young says:

    What a wise young man you have helped develop. Proud mama moment for you! Thanks for raising an upstanding member of society.

  2. I can only imagine how proud you and Ron were sitting there listening to him. I read this with tears in my eyes thinking you must have been filled with such complex emotions while watching this seasonal chapter unfold before you’re eyes. Love you, and God Bless you and your family. What awesome parents you both are! I’m inspired….

    Oh, BTW….from the nose up, he looks like Jason!

  3. Rod says:

    It doesn’t get any better than that! I can only picture Luke as a middle schooler, since it has been over 4 years since we left Clinton, so it is hard to picture him as the young man that toiled over this speech in which he acquitted himself famously as a follower of Christ. Blessings to you Luke!

  4. don says:

    I was moved by the speech when I heard it live and it continued to inspire me as I read it here. God has great things in store for you Luke. What a special family!

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