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Glory Days: Valedictory Speech

Twenty years ago today, I graduated from high school.  And, yes, that makes me feel old.

Graduating from Pembroke Academy was a big deal to me, for reasons that I gave in my very short valedictory speech, but also because I was the third generation of my family to graduate from PA – and the second to graduate with the highest GPA in the class.  I did feel a lot of pride on that day… although, I admit, I also had the sense that, perhaps, I didn’t really deserve to be valedictorian.  After all, I hadn’t even attended classes in the high school, instead, the public school teachers came to my home to teach me, due to my physical disability.  It wasn’t that I didn’t think that I was intelligent – I have quite high self-esteem, so I knew that I was intelligent – but I felt bad that I didn’t have the opportunity  to fully test the depth and breadth of my intelligence.  In a way, I almost felt too normal to be valedictorian.

Thankfully, I was not chosen because I was in a wheelchair and seen as “special”.  In my school, it was all about the grades.  So, I did, as I have reminded myself many times, earn the top spot with self-discipline and devoted studying, fueled by my love of learning.  All made possible by an understanding public school faculty and administrators, generously supportive parents, and the mysterious gifts of God.

In commemoration of this glory day of mine, I’m sharing with you my graduation speech.  As you read it, picture a tiny body swallowed up by a white robe, with a graduation cap fitting snugly on her head.  And when you’re done reading, listen for the standing ovation – yup, I got one.  With a body like mine, it doesn’t take much to move people. 🙂

My Valediction to the Glory Days of High School

“Many people have asked me the common question of what I plan to do after today.  The truth is that I haven’t made plans for the future because I never thought that I would have one.  You see, when I was diagnosed with my disease at the age of two, the doctors told my parents that I wouldn’t live to the age of thirteen.  My parents never thought that I would be a teenager, let alone a high school graduate.  But I always dreamed of graduating.  I even planned on being at the top of my class.

Today is a great day.  For here I am, standing before you, graduating from high school, and realizing my dream.  And all of the challenges that I’ve faced and the obstacles that I’ve hurdled have made today the most satisfying and thrilling day that I have ever known.

Now I have this chance to speak to all of you and I don’t want to give any advice.  I just want to say that, today, we are all victorious.  Whether graduation means fulfilling a dream, accomplishing one of many goals, overcoming obstacles or exceeding expectations, for each of us it is a mark of success.  It is a testament to our perseverance.

The future lies before us, holding different paths for each of us.  For me, the future itself is a wonderful gift.  It is an open place for fulfilling more dreams.

Tomorrow may be an unknown.  But, today, we are being recognized for our commitment to succeed and reminded that we are all worthy of our dreams.”

© 2017 Christina Chase

Christina Chase View All

Although crippled by disease, I'm fully alive in love. I write about the terrible beauty and sacred wonder of life, while living with physical disability and severe dependency. A revert to the Catholic faith through atheism, I'm not afraid to ask life's big questions. I explore what it means to be fully human through my weekly blog and have written a book: It's Good to Be Here, published by Sophia Institute Press.

8 thoughts on “Glory Days: Valedictory Speech Leave a comment

  1. Reblogged this on agnellusmirror and commented:
    We’ve grown to love and respect Christina since she started following Agnellus Mirror. It’s about time we sent you to her own blog. I doubt I would have spoken so eloquently at eighteen. In fact I crept out of town as soon as my last exam was completed. Job done if not done well. Christina, on the other hand … read on.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Christina, every time I read one of your pieces, I’m speechless. I always want to leave a comment expressing how “blown away” at some concept, some point you’ve made. But I don’t often leave a comment because they seem weak compared to your eloquence. This piece on your Valedictorian speech is as fresh and meaningful today as it was the day you delivered it. I believe that for all your followers, you will always be our Valedictorian for your words of wisdom and ENCOURAGEMENT in our struggles lift us up. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. HI Christina i just love to ditto others esp if it is true to me so diito both cyberrose89 and willturnstone. you are awesome. Speechless is a good word for me when i read you stuff you. you go lady … happy writing happy child of God always. blessings thanks bunches

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Christina,
    My granddaughter Gracie graduated from high school this year. I am so proud of her. But I wish your speech had been recorded and played instead of the speech that one of her classmates gave. I am going to copy this and frame it for her, along with this picture . . .

    christina on the road dscn6794-copy.jpg (the one of you on a country road with a beautiful vista spreading out before you)

    . . .which I saved, and now use as “wallpaper.” I am heartened every time I click on my tablet.

    Cheers! Carry on!


    Liked by 1 person

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