What Comes Next, Graduates?

This post was written by 2019-20 FLVS Full Time Senior Class President, Matthew Ferguson. 

To my classmates and my friends, we made it! We are finally graduates and have survived the seemingly endless challenges of high school. Looking back, every action you’ve taken, every choice you’ve made over the past four years has led to this day.  

You attended your nerve-wracking first day of high school, getting a glimpse of the years to come. You worked through extensive courses and live lessons, learning material that helped you better understand our world. And with graduation in mind, you put great effort into every lengthy assignment, quick quiz, and thoroughly anxious DBA.  

You chose to work hard to pass your classes and state exams. You chose to do what was needed to graduate. You chose to survive high school. Last year, I told our class we would not only survive, but thrive. After witnessing the feats of the Class of 2020, I knew I was right. Some of you have become frequent tutors, giving your time to help the younger students. Others have reached athletic heights, becoming winning competitors in various sports. Our graduating class has creative artists and writers, charitable volunteers, high flying champions and academics.  The list goes on and on, and it is enough to show that each of you, in your unique way, took action to go beyond what was expected and thrive throughout high school! 

What Follows After the Finish Line?  

We made it to our goal. But with the ending of this journey comes a question: What’s next? 

For four years, “what’s next” has been defined for us. Next, we had another DBA. Next, we had another test. Next, we had another course, another class, and another year of high school. For four years, our options have been multiple choice, options we could pick and choose. But no longer is the question of “what’s next” multiple choice. Now it is an essay in which we define the answer.    

For some of us, the answer is earning a college degree in a field we’re passionate about. For others, the answer is getting a job and starting a lifelong career. Some of us may join the military and defend our nation, while some of us may travel the world and visit others.  

For some, the answer is unknown, and that can be terrifying. Like standing in a dark room, you have no idea what is around you nor where you can go. This fear of the unknown, the fear of falling down or following the wrong path causes people around the world to stop moving, to stay in place. 

Yes, everyone faces this fear. It is human to be cautious and feel fear. It motivates us to stay safe, away from harm and away from danger. But never let it keep you from moving.  

Even if you do not have an answer as to what’s next, if you cannot see the path forward, waiting for it to appear will achieve nothing. You need to be courageous and forge your own path.  

It’s the Courage to Continue that Counts!

“Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It’s the courage to continue that counts.” 

Just as you faced them in high school, you will face success and failure throughout life. You may climb to a new height, achieving your goals in every form. And you may fall to the last rung of the ladder, encountering frequent obstacles and challenges. Wherever you find yourself, it is what’s next that is important.  

It is what’s next that you all must define for yourselves. So, use the skills you’ve gained and the knowledge you’ve learned, go out into the world, and experiment. Apply for a job you’ve never done before. Volunteer somewhere you’ve never been. Travel the world and see what it holds. Experiment with the unknown. That is how you find what you love. That is how you find “what’s next.”  

Carry the Spirit of the Class of 2020 with You.

Wherever you may go, whatever your “next” is, there is not a single doubt in my mind that even as you leave high school behind, you will carry the spirit of our class with you. We may not go down the same path, and we may not follow the same beliefs, but we are all Megabytes. I have seen you reach out to help you classmates when they’ve struggled with a subject. Some of you even helped out our teachers with Zoom. I have seen you give your time to make communities better, whether virtually or physically. I have seen you embrace new ideas and challenge old ones. I have seen each of you become individuals I am proud to call my friends. 

Kind. Charitable. Creative. Unique. This is the spirit of the Class of 2020. This is what each of you will carry with you. This is why I know you all have star-bright futures ahead.  

Take time to reflect on the choices made, memories forged, and friendships built. Most importantly, think of everyone who has supported you along the way. Your friends, your family, teachers and tutors, instructors and coaches. I would like to thank my family for being my biggest supporters, my challenging tutors, and constant companions.  

And finally, to our seniors gathered across Florida, I want to say thank you. It is all of you who made the last four years what they were: years of growth, charity, and friendship. Each of you defined the spirit of our class as one of kindness, charity, and creativity. Together, we made our mark upon the world. I believe with every fiber of my being that each of you will do so again while carrying on that Megabyte Spirit. So, thank you for being part of our wonderful, crazy, and unique family. 

Once again, congratulations to the Graduating Class of 2020! 

View the full ceremony recognizing our graduates at https://flvs.net/classof2020.

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