Northgate Salutatorian: Nothing is too great to overcomeBy Anna Adams, Salutatorian
Northgate High School Class of 2012
Family, friends, and faculty, I thank you for coming today to celebrate the accomplishments of Northgate High School’s Class of 2012.
I’ve always been told I should ignore my worries to find confidence, but I must admit standing up to speak to you all tonight is without a doubt the most nerve-racking task I have ever had to complete.
Though the help is greatly appreciated, none of it has brought me much peace. People kept telling me, the salutatorian, to relax, without realizing that the reason I was giving a speech in the first place is that I haven’t relaxed once since freshman year. My high school experience has been full of late night essays, last minute corrections, and rushed homework assignments, so the entire concept of being calm seemed foreign to me.
Ironically, the piece of advice that ended up helping me the most was the one found when I wasn’t even searching for it that taught me how to do exactly that: calm down, and get perspective on where I was in the grand affair of life. Months ago, a very dear friend of mine enlightened me with a quote from Robert Frost: “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life; it goes on.” So what’s the difference if I stumble on a few words? Life will go on.
At first, I could only see the relevance of these words to my current situation. I saw them as proof from a wise man that once I stepped down from this podium, my problems here would be over. I’d join the rest of my class and the evening would progress as normal. Upon further pondering however, I realized that as a graduating senior, I was in a situation in which this quote could help me more than I was allowing it to.
It wasn’t just a piece of advice to momentarily calm me; it is a philosophy with which I can approach the world. Something with which I can plan for the future.
Mr. Frost’s optimism and sureness in the face of adversity grants me a sort of secret knowledge that no matter what, my life will go on too. If I use a semester in college to study abroad and fall flat on my face in foreign language classes, it will be ok. If I forget to bring some things from home, or don’t make a grade I was hoping for on a test, it will all be ok because life goes on. The short-term consequences will merely become a drop in the bucket as time progresses.
It is with this attitude that I urge my fellow students to look at their lives. The world is but an array of opportunities, and failure is a necessary consequence of attempt. If we do not take risks then how will we ever know that we have reached our full potential?
Fortune favors the brave and we all have the occasion, the duty even, to approach the world with bravery in our hearts.
So let those words, that idea that Robert Frost gained only after a long and full life be a tool in your own.
Whether they help you get overcome small obstacle, like having to write a speech, or deal with a much larger one looming in the distance, like what direction an 18-year-old should take her life in, keep in mind that nothing is too great to overcome, and nothing has to be overcome all at once. Once again, good luck and congratulations to the Class of 2012!