WARRENSBURG At Warrensburg Central’s commencement ceremonies June 21, the school’s 51 graduating seniors exhibited enthusiasm about delving into a new phase in their lives — and their attitude was refected in the brevity of the speeches delivered by the Class of 2013’s top students.
In her one-minute speech, Valedictorian Shelby Burkhardt spoke of how she and her classmates appreciated support through the years from teachers, friends and family.
“Dream big, because you can — and well, why not,” she said. “It is time for us to venture out and push ourselves to our fullest potential.”
Salutatorian Justine Monthony spoke of how her eclectic class had lately pulled together as a community, under the mentorship of parents, step-parents, grandparents, guardians, adoptive parents, siblings and teachers.
“Everyone in this audience is responsible in some way for the achievement of this class,” she said.
Despite the brevity of the student’s speeches, however, the adults stepping up to the lectern offered plenty of advice.
Lawson: ‘Ditch those illusions’
School Superintendent Tim Lawson, delivering his last graduation speech at WCS before he retires in December, offered his light-hearted observations:
“Life is not fair, get used to it;”.....”The world won’t care about your self esteem” (but people will value your accomplishments); ...”You will not make $40,000 per year right out of high school” (the executive job must be earned); “... If you think your teachers were tough wait until you get a boss;” ... “Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity;” ...and: “If you mess up, it’s not you parents’ fault — so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them.”
He also urged them to take responsibility, over their lifetimes, for their own continued intellectual, professional and civic growth.
“Think of a high school diploma as a “license for learning, to be renewed continuously,” he said.