Reflections from the Class of 2017
This post was written by 2016-17 FLVS Full Time National Honor Society President, Olivia Horne.
Family and friends – thank you for providing unwavering support, love and encouragement as we pursue our futures.
Teachers and staff – thank you for making those futures possible through your ability to make lifelong learning fun and our dreams accessible.
Fellow graduates – congratulations! From DBAs, to lives lessons, from collaborations to finals, we have each worked incredibly hard. We did it.
As we reach the end of our high school careers, it is only natural for us to reflect upon what led us here. And while our personal histories might differ greatly, we do have one thing in common: the community that is FLVS.
We, Class of 2017, have pursued our education on our own terms. We are the trailblazers, the innovative digital learners, those who are not afraid to take the path less traveled. We have dared to be different. We, Class of 2017, have proven our possession of the invaluable ability to define our own futures.When reflecting upon what makes me who I am, one of the very first things that came to mind was my love of reading. I believe that some of the most insightful wisdom can be found in children’s literature. I would like to share some of that with you today.
As a child, my all-time favorite story was J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. As most of you probably know, in the exposition of the story, Peter teaches the children of the Darling family how to fly. While describing this celebrated moment, Barrie writes, “The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.”
Although this was written more than a century ago, I believe that it applies to us today. After we leave this room, and move on to pursue our futures, we must remember the sheer power of belief. Belief in ourselves, belief in our abilities, belief in our purposes. And while doubt is natural, we must remember that it can only hurt our ability to fly. So, Class of 2017, if you ever doubt yourself, remember all that you have done and all who have believed in you. Remember the time you aced a test and remember the teacher who never gave up on you. Remember this moment and all that you have accomplished to get here.
Alice in Wonderland is also full of inventive ideas with a disappearing cat, talking flowers and a Mad Hatter. Author Lewis Carrol offers invaluable wisdom when he reminds readers that “Imagination is the only weapon against reality.” In this quote, Carrol reminds us that we have the ability to innovate, solve and redefine the problems that affect our lives. While the solutions might not always be obvious, don’t ever give up on finding them.
Another story that defined my childhood, and I’m sure many of yours, was that of Harry Potter. In her stories, author J.K. Rowling reminds us in the power of friendship, the power of learning and the power of goodness. But more than that, she reminds us of the power of pursuing a better future. She once stated, “We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.”
As children, we believed that we could do anything. When adults asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up, we answered without hesitation. There is an insatiable curiosity that comes with childhood – one that caused us to ask our parents unending questions about why the grass is green or why the sky is blue. As we stand on the brink of adulthood, we must remember the child that we once were. The one that wholeheartedly believed in their ability to succeed. The one that was not afraid to ask questions or discover solutions. As these stories remind us, we must remember that we have the power to imagine and create a better future for our world.
As students, we have been given one of the greatest gifts: the ability to learn. So Class of 2017, let’s keep learning. Let’s continue to seek out answers to our questions and when they don’t exist, let us make them ourselves. We each have a purpose – a change to make. Let’s find it and act on it. Because while today might be the close of a chapter, it is just the beginning of the rest of your story.
Way to go Olivia! It was a joy to be your teacher. I know you are headed for great things! I am looking forward to following your journey.
Very proud of our graduates and a very inspirational speech Olivia!