Good evening fellow graduates, family, friends, staff, and distinguished guests. It is my honor to welcome you to the graduation ceremony of the class of 2019. I am blessed beyond measure to stand before you as the salutatorian of this amazing class and I thank you all for joining us this evening to celebrate this momentous milestone in our lives. As you will soon realize, the theme of my speech tonight is “family” because that’s just what Batesburg-Leesville is.
First, I must tell you that the individuals seated behind me are beyond intelligent and talented. We have some of the finest athletes the state has to offer, as well as some of the smartest and kindest people I have ever had the privilege of knowing. I started my journey with these then “children” in the third grade. My how times have changed. Nine years later we are standing together as a family, ready to take the next great leap in life. Throughout these years there have been hills and mountains to climb, but we have taken this journey one step at a time to arrive at the top of our final mountain together.
It was during these years that I met my best friends, and found a family in our amazing band program. I am so proud to boast of all of our wonderful accomplishments and memories together, especially winning second place at state finals this year. I want to give a special thank you to Mr. Brown, Mrs. Terlizzi, and Mr. Funderburk for making this all possible. You will never know how much these last seven years of music have changed my life. I also know that it is not just my life that has been changed by the programs here at Batesburg-Leesville High School. We have all come to love a room or field as a home away from home. Those places where hopes are high and love is greater. Here at Batesburg-Leesville, teammates are not just teammates, but a brother or sister until the end.
Each of us here have had family, friends, and teachers pushing us all through school to be our absolute bests. Without these loved ones influencing us in our pasts we would not have our present, nor would we make it to the amazing futures that lie ahead of us all. So on behalf of the class of 2019, I thank anyone who ever helped inspire us to keep going. Thank you for not letting us quit when the mountain got steep, or when the slope got slippery. I want to give a special “thank you” to my personal motivation team: my parents, grandparents, Logan, my friends, Coach Harvey, Mrs. Baxley, and Mrs. Cade. I truly appreciate everything each of you have done for me.
To my fellow graduates: as you look back upon your years at Batesburg-Leesville High School I hope that you look back at the fond memories you have made here with smiles on your faces. We have sat and watched the three classes ahead of us go on to begin their futures, and now it is our time. Many see this time as a door closing, but I see as the door opening: allowing us into the futures that we have dreamed of all these years. As we leave and start our lives I pray that we keep in touch, because here at Batesburg-Leesville family is forever. I will always remember the lunches, assemblies, and football games- the excitement and pride in the air because we are Panthers, and that means something around here. No matter where we go, or how long we stay, we will always be Panthers at heart. Classmates, I wish you all the best of luck in your future endeavors, and I pray for your health and happiness through all the years. Thank you, and goodnight.