Valedictorian Address by Brannon Jones
Hello and welcome, friends, faculty, and especially parents, to the graduation of the Class of 2016. My name is Brannon Jones and I am extremely honored to be here this evening, representing my class as Valedictorian. However, the true honor that I feel comes not from this title, but from knowing that I was a part of this very talented and exceptional class. Sadly, I was not always a part of this class and I know that I missed out on a great deal of exciting and hilarious stories because of it. I moved to Tyler County from Paden City when I was in the fourth grade, but I never got the chance to feel out of place.
From the moment I arrived, these students treated this very awkward, quiet, and backward kid like I had always been there and they wanted to make sure that I felt welcome. It didn’t take long for me to become a part of this wonderful family and I know that I will always be a part of it for the rest of my life. Believe me when I say, nothing has changed since then; this class is still just as united and giving and I’m still just as awkward.
Something else that can be said about our class is our involvement all over the school and county. We have always been a large part, if not majority, of the activities and organizations in our school system and community. Unlike some classes, we are involved in and have dedicated ourselves to every single aspect of this school. We have made our presence known in every club, sport, and activity out there, leaving behind a trail of success. Records and achievements were made both on and off the field from the moment we first stepped into high school. No matter what it is that any one of you did, you accomplished amazing things and added to the legacy of this school.
Constantly hearing terms such as talented, intelligent, hard-working, and motivated as ways to describe our class gives me full confidence that not a single individual behind me is capable of anything other than success after they leave here tonight. Whether you are going to college, a trade school, the military, or straight to work, you are going to make an impact on the lives of those around you and it’s going to be a loud one. The fact of the matter is, you must now choose how you change the world because one way or another all of you are going to do it.
After you walk out of here high school will be a thing of the past and the only thing in front of you will be life. As all of you make that journey through life, working hard and making some very difficult decisions, I want you to remember something very important. John Lennon once said: “When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down “happy.” They told me I didn’t understand the assignment I told them they didn’t understand life.” Remember this all of your lives, no matter what you do, if it doesn’t make you happy, it’s not the right decision. Luckily, our teachers have always understood this important part of life and tried to pass it down to us. Now it is up to us to carry this with us wherever we may go and to keep this value alive.
But today we are here for one reason and one reason only, to celebrate and honor all of the hard work that we have done and the time that we have spent for the last fourteen years to get to this point. Graduation is an important part of our lives, as well as the lives of our loved ones. Typically, it only happens once, but I am honored to be leaving here alongside two of the best teachers I have ever known, Mr. Wayne Smith and Ms. Linda Putzulu. Just as I know that these two will continue work hard and do great things after they leave here I know that we will too. Carrying excellence, drive, character, intelligence, and talent with us wherever we go, the Tyler Consolidated Class of 2016 is sure to make some noise. So go on, tear down some walls, do things that are outside of the norm, and dare to do what other will not. It is our time to make a difference in the world, to invent, discover, and explore, and I don’t know of anybody more capable than us. So never settle for anything less than what you know you can achieve, because achieve you will.